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Thailand starts action to send Hmong back to Laos
By JEREMY HARMER
Associated Press
2009-12-28 06:24 AM
The Thai army has begun closing a refugee camp and sending some 4,000 ethnic Hmong back to Laos, despite concerns about their safety.

Col. Thana Charuwat said the operation began at 5:30 a.m. Monday morning (2230 GMT Sunday), and involved a total of 5,000 troops.

He said the soldiers were unarmed, but equipped with shields and batons, which he said met international standards for dealing with such situations.

Many of the Hmong claim they face persecution in their homeland because they fought on the side of a pro-American government during the Vietnam War, but the communist side _ popularly known in the West as the Pathet Lao _ emerged triumphant in 1975 and remains in power.

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