President of the Cambodian Islamic Association Vann Math said on Tuesday that almost half of the 86 Cham Muslims denied entry to Thailand on Saturday have now arrived in Malaysia.
Some of the group in Malaysia have contacted their relatives in Cambodia, Vann Math said, adding that about 40 Chams remain in Poipet.
They have passports but were denied entry to Thailand because they were not each carrying $485 in personal spending money, he said.
“Now they are waiting for their relatives staying in Malaysia to send them some money. They want to visit their kin,” he said of the group in Poipet. He added that the Chams were traveling to Malaysia for work.
Pich Saran, Poipet International Checkpoint immigration police chief, said an additional seven Cambodian Muslims were denied entry on Tuesday, also because they were not carrying $485 each.
“The order has been applied [to Cambodians] in recent days,” he said.
“Now Thai authorities are very strict in screening the people who go to their country.”
Thai Interior Minister Kongsak Wanthana has ordered increased surveillance along the border with Cambodia amid fears of weapons being smuggled to insurgents in Thailand’s violence-wracked south, the Thai News Agency reported on Sunday.
He also warned Cambodian Muslims against attempting to become involved in the insurgency, but added that Cambodian Muslims have been traveling to southern Thailand for some time, and that no illegal weapons have been found to date, TNA said.
The minister made the remarks after the 86 Cham Muslims were denied entry to Thailand for security reasons, TNA said.
An official at the Thai Embassy said Tuesday that tight security at the border is not unusual.
“We have a situation in southern Thailand, we have to watch everyone coming into that territory. It’s normal procedure,” he said on condition of anonymity, adding that the 86 were denied entry because they did not have proper documents.