Thai police say Chinese church members to be deported soon

by | Apr 5, 2023 | Religion

BANGKOK (AP) — More than 60 self-exiled members of a Chinese Christian church who were detained in Thailand after receiving U.N. refugee status will be deported by next week, probably to a third country, officials said Wednesday.Deputy national police chief Surachate Hakparn said representatives of Thailand’s Foreign Ministry and Immigration Bureau were holding talks with the U.N. Refugee Agency and the U.S. Embassy to discuss the fate of the 63 members of the Shenzhen Holy Reformed Church who were taken to court in the coastal city of Pattaya last Friday.
“Within the next week, they will definitely be deported. What we don’t know is which country they will be deported to,” Surachate told The Associated Press.
The members of the church, also known as the Mayflower Church, were granted refugee status by the U.N. agency after their arrival in Thailand last year. They say they faced unbearable harassment in China and are seeking asylum in the United States.
Prior to their arrival in Thailand, the church members had fled to South Korea’s Jeju island in October 2019 and stayed there for nearly three years, but decided to leave as it became clear that prospects for refuge there were dim.
An Immigration Bureau official with knowledge of Wednesday’s multi-agency …

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