The National Security Council will ask Laos to take back about 6,500 Hmong refugees now in Phetchabun province.
There was no proof any of the Hmong had fought in the secret war in Laos financed by the US Central Intelligence Agency during the Vietnam War, as some of them claimed, NSC secretary-general Gen Vinai Pattiyakul said yesterday.
Washington has ruled out any chance these Hmong people will be resettled in the United States.
About 2,000 of the Lao-Hmong now in Phetchabun have claimed they fought in the CIA-backed campaign against the communists in Laos. They were left to fight on their own after the US withdrew in 1975 and later fled Laos after crackdowns by Vientiane.
They feared they would not be safe if pushed back into Laos by Thai authorities.
Gen Vinai said he would seek negotiations with Vientiane for the repatriation of the 6,500 Hmong in Phetchabun’s Khao Kho district. They were illegal immigrants and he did not think the US would accept them because there was no clear evidence so far that any of them had worked for the CIA.
“We had a meeting on the issue and reprimanded immigration-related agencies for their negligence by letting so many Lao-Hmong people enter the country,” he said. “We believe there must be gangs who benefited from bringing these people into the country and we must take action.”