Thousands of Vietnamese refugees who are settling in northern Thailand are causing some problems for the Thai government.
GV: Pathet Lao ferry coming into Nongkhai side of Mekong river.
GV: people in street in Nongkhai. (2 shots)
SV OF: man repairing motorbikes. (2 shots)
SV: Vietnamese woman handwatering garden. (2 shots)
GV: Vietnamese gathering at Udon. (2 shots)
SV: people outside Vietnamese shops.
SV: Vietnamese girls speaking to newsmen.
SV: Vietnamese schoolboys playing basketball.
SV PAN: shy Vietnamese children in classroom.
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Background: Thousands of Vietnamese refugees who are settling in northern Thailand are causing some problems for the Thai government.
SYNOPSIS: In all, there are about 60,000 Vietnamese refugees living in the country. Some of them arrived by this ferry to the Nongkhai side of the Mekong River. Many settle happily, but others want to return to their homes.
In Nongkhai city, many of the successful businesses are run by Vietnamese, but, because of political and idealogical differences, some of the businessmen would rather be in Vietnam.
Many of the refugees in Nongkhai came there during the war between the then Viet Minh and France. In fact, the Vietnamese have been seeking refuge in Thailand from various struggles in their own country for almost 200 years.
In that time, the various Thai governments have also tried to repatriate the refugees, but with only limited success. In the four years preceding 1964, about 45,000 displaced Vietnamese were sent home under the Rangoon agreement. But North Vietnam refused to take anymore then, blaming American raids on the Gulf of Tonkin.
The Thai government has been trying to get more repatriation agreements since then.
Another community which houses the Vietnamese is at Udon, about 600 kilometres (about 400 miles) north of the capital, Bangkok. A large delegation from press and television companies recently visited the town. The residents told the visitors, in a letter, they wanted to stay in Thailand and appealed to the Thai Royal Family to be allowed to. They said they classed themselves as Thai and felt they'd learnt the customs of the country.
While many of adjusted to the Thai way of life, others are irritating the government because they're continuing to practice Communism and secretly teach the Vietnamese culture. Others enter the country illegally and the government has had to set up special training camps for these people.