Thai police have discovered about 200 suspected Turkish refugees at a secret camp in the kingdom's deep south, officials said today, describing the case as "unprecedented".
Thailand has long been a hub for people trafficking, with thousands of Rohingya boat people from neighbouring Myanmar believed to have passed through the kingdom in recent years.
The 200 refugees, whom police said identified themselves as Turkish, were detained after a raid on a camp in a mountainous rubber plantation on Wednesday night in the southern province of Songkhla.
"It's an unprecedented case that there are so many Turkish people arrested here," Police Major General Thatchai Pitaneelaboot said by telephone.
"They came as families and looks like they wanted to go somewhere else because they kept their belongings ready to move," he said, adding that several suspected minders had fled during the raid.
It was unclear how they arrived in Thailand. Police were waiting for an interpreter to help question the detainees, who have not yet been charged with any crime.
The Turkish embassy said it had no information about their case while the UN refugee agency did not immediately respond to a request for comment.