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Malaysia arrests Uighur escapee from Thailand

Malaysian authorities have arrested a Uighur Muslim man from China who was part of a group who made a dramatic escape from an immigration detention centre in Thailand, police said Thursday.

Asri Yusoff, police chief in the northern Malaysian state of Kedah, said the fugitive was picked up near the border with Thailand's Sadoa district, where the Thai immigration center is located.

"The detainee, in his 30s, entered Bukit Tangga near the Malaysia-Thai border on foot," he told AFP by phone.

"He is in good condition and we are making arrangements to send him back to Thailand," he added.

Local people tipped off police which led to the Uighur man's arrest, Asri said, adding that police have stepped up border surveillance and are distributing posters of the escapees to the public.

A group of 25 Uighurs used blankets to climb out of their cells in a daring pre-dawn escape from their cell in southern Thailand on Monday.

Five of them were arrested in Thailand on the same day and one more was detained on Wednesday, according to the Thai police.

The arrest of one escapee in Malaysia indicates that some of the group may have crossed into the country.

The group were among hundreds of Uighurs, a Muslim minority that faces repression in western China, detained in 2014 in Thailand, sparking a tussle over their citizenship.

Uighurs intercepted in Thailand often say they are Turkish as Turkey shares ethnic links with them and accepts those who flee from China's restive Xinjiang region.

Thailand does not grant asylum to refugees but has said Uighurs can remain in Thai custody until their citizenship is established, with some 61 currently in detention across the country.

In 2015 Thailand forcibly deported 100 Uighurs to China.

Published : November 23, 2017

By : Agence France-Presse Kuala Lumpur