Navy chief Admiral Kamthorn Phumhiran on Friday dismissed a BBC report claiming Thai military had ill-treated the Rohingyas from Burma and Bangladesh who sought work or asylum by pushing them out to sea and setting them adrift.
“The Royal Thai Navy did not badly treated the Rohingyas. There was no setting them adrift as alleged,” he said.
Under the military convention, the navy is obligated to rescue enemies from a sunken ship, he said, arguing there is no reason to mistreat the migrants landing on the Thai shore.
In the incident in question, the navy was notified by marine park rangers about the Rohingyas at Kon Sai Daeng, Ranong, he said.
A group of 20 navymen were dispatched to investigate and they found more than 100 Rohingyas, prompting the order for the migrants to lie down for safety reason, he said.
He added that the picture depicting navymen standing over the rows of migrants lying down should not be construed as mistreatment but a standard procedure to detain a large number of people.
The Rohingyas were brought to a shelter with food and water, he said. Afterwards, the navy alerted the immigration police and handed over the custody.