Skip to content

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — More than 500 Rohingya refugees escaped detention in Malaysia on Wednesday morning following a protest, but most have been rearrested, immigration officials said.

The Immigration Department said 528 Rohingya fled after breaking a block door and a barrier grating at a temporary detention center in northern Penang state. Police and other agencies were deployed and 362 detainees were re-arrested, the department said in a statement.

“The search for the remaining detainees continues,” he said, without giving further details on what triggered the escape.

Malaysia, which has a dominant Muslim population, is a favored destination for Muslim Rohingyas fleeing Myanmar or those seeking to escape the misery in refugee camps in Bangladesh.

Malaysia does not grant refugee status but the country hosts some 180,000 UNHCR-accredited refugees and asylum seekers, including more than 100,000 Rohingya and other Myanmar ethnic groups. Thousands more remain undocumented after arriving in the country illegally by sea.

The Associated Press