Seven North Korean defectors have been arrested on the Mekong River in Nong Khai for illegally entering Thailand, a senior immigration police officer said.
The four men and three women aged between 22 and 75 were apprehended on Tuesday night, said Pol Col Panlop Suriyakul na Ayutthaya, chief of Nong Khai immigration police, during a media briefing in the northeast province.
Kyodo News reported none were carrying passports and confirmed through a translator they were from North Korea. They were charged with illegal entry and later handed over to Ban Due police station.
Many North Koreans fleeing their country have entered Thailand illegally through its northeastern borders in recent years, but Thai authorities have not repatriated them to North Korea on humanitarian grounds.
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