Thursday, January 22, 2009

Chin Refugee Faces Possible Deportation from Malaysia - William Mung

By Van Biak Thang
Chinland Guardian

A Chin refugee, who has been detained at different detention camps in Malaysia since last November, will be transferred today to Machap Umboo Detention Camp where he will await deportation, Chinland Guardian has learned.

William Mung, an ethnic Chin from Southern Chin State of Burma, was arrested on 22 November 2008 by the Malaysian law enforcement while waiting for the bus at Melaka Bus Station. The 25-year-old faced immigration charges in court on 4 December 2008 and was sentenced to 3 months in jail.

"Mung seems to be in good health but is losing weight and getting thin," according to a foreign friend who asks not to be named, and who visited the detention camp yesterday. "I bought some food and other stuffs including toothpaste and toothbrush from the shop inside the camp as no outside food is allowed," she explains.

The UNHCR office in Malaysia sent legal counsels during his court appearance although William Mung, a Dai-Chin from Awmsoi Village of Matupi township in Burma, is not yet recognized by the office, sources said.

The US Senate Foreign Relations Committee is currently investigating possible involvement of Malaysian enforcement authorities in a human smuggling activity where undocumented migrants, including refugees and asylum seekers, are subjected to deportation in collusion with human traffickers operating across the border in Thailand.

Two other Chins are also said to be detained at the same detention camp. Hundreds of Chin refugees and asylum seekers are currently being detained in detention centres across Malaysia.

Shwekey Hoipang, a Dai-Chin pastor and activist based in the UK, said more than 1000 from Dai descent in Southern Chin State alone are in Malaysia with many more at refugee camps in Thailand. "It is sad that they have to face these hardships in Malaysia after having escaped from brutalities and human rights abuses in Burma," he said.

A church minister from Kluang district tried to visit William in jail on two occasions but was denied access both times after he was transferred to Kluang jail on 4 December 2008.

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