Two activists and three reporters from Myanmar have been detained in Thailand for illegal entry and face potential deportation, the reporters’ news organisation and local police reported on Tuesday.
The five were detained on Sunday in the northern city of Chiang Mai, Broadcaster DVB (Democratic Voice of Burma) said, and it appealed to Thai authorities not to deport them to Myanmar, where the news organisation has been debarred by the junta.
In a statement, Aye Chan Naing, DVB’s executive director, said “their life will be in serious danger if they were to return.” The statement also appealed to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees for help.
The statement added that they had fled the army crackdown in Myanmar since the Feb. 1 coup, during which dozens of journalists have been among thousands of people caught. DVB and many other independent media organisations had their licences revoked.
Thapanapong Chairangsri, the head of police in the San Sai district outside Chiang Mai, told Reuters that 5 Myanmar citizens had been detained for entering the country illegally and would be brought to court on Tuesday.
Chairangsri noted that they would be deported in accordance with the law, but added that because of the COVID-19 outbreak they would be held in detention for 14 days before being handed to immigration authorities.