Thailand has appealed to the United States to help provide protection for Vietnamese refugee boats in the Gulf of Thailand.
GV AND PAN Of Vietnamese boat people in camp
SV Boat people (2 shots)
SV PULL BACK Woman refugee
SV Boy sitting on ground PAN TO Group of refugees
SV Woman sitting on ground ZOOM IN TO Person lying down
GV Refugees cooking PAN TO Group in distance
SV AND CU Woman speaking in English
TRANSCRIPTS: LOCKYER: "This group of Vietnamese refugees has just spent fifteen days at the hands of Thai pirates. When they When they were finally rescued by the Thai navy from a small island off the South coast of Thailand, sixteen of their number had been killed, and of the seventy-four survivors, twenty women, had been raped."
As appalling as this account is, it has become a familiar story. In fact, much worse cases have been documented by refugee officials. In one case, only fifty refugees from a boat-load of 120 made it to safety, having been hit three times by pirates in voyaged from Vietnam.
These refugees left vietnam in mid-February, in three boats, allowing the prevailing winds and currents to take them into the Gulf of Thailand. They say the Thai pirates, armed with guns and knives, rammed their boats, took their gold and other possessions, and forced them overboard to swim by night to an island. Word quickly spread among the pirates that the refugees were on the island, and they returned each day to rape the women, forcing the men at gunpoint to reveal their whereabouts.
The one woman who escaped the ordeal, Ning Wang Wan Tei, (phonetic) said she covered herself with dirt and pretended to be sick and the pirates showed no interest in her. She described how the other women were treated:"
WAN TEI: "All the women had to hide themselves in the cave to avoid the see rob (as heard) because, every day, there were many sea rob (as heard) boats, fishing boats, came and went on the island to search. They were searching for women-- many place. And they could find out, could find out many of the women every day, and raped them-- very cruel, very cruel."
REPORT: PAUL LOCKYER
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Thailand has appealed to the United States to help provide protection for Vietnamese refugee boats in the Gulf of Thailand. Over 150 Vietnamese boat people have died in pirate raids over the last few months, and the United Nations has already agreed to supply a patrol boat to help control the situation. Many Vietnamese refugees landing in Thailand claim they have been robbed and raped by pirates, and that many of their number have been killed. Paul Lockyer of the Australian Broadcasting Commission reports.