The Sea Air Rescue (SAR) unit of the Royal Thai Navy confirmed that 37-year-old Ho Hoang Hung, a Vietnamese national, was picked up yesterday (Mar 23) about 5 miles off the Similan Islands after officers based at their Thai Muang base in Phang Nga had been alerted of the man’s plight by a local fishing trawler idenitifed as Petchrungruang.
Pol Col Somphop Khamkhana, deputy commander of the Similan Navy SAR, set off with a team of fellow officers to locate the man based on coordinates provided by the trawler.
Once they did manage to locate him they realised there was a language barrier issue and initially Mr Ho was not granted entry to the navy boat. Instead his dinghy was tied to the stern of the boat while his documentation was checked. Mr Ho was provided with water and food while the background check was being conducted.
After running a check on the man’s passport, and by engaging translation assistance, it was discovered that he had entered Thailand via Phuket Airport, although the exact date of his entry was not revealed by officers.
After entering the country, Mr Ho had rented a rubber dinghy and paddle from an unidentified vendor in Phuket and set off towards India where his family is currently located. Mr Ho admitted that he does not possess a valid visa to enter India.
He had been at sea for 10 days before being spotted by the trawler which led to his subsequent rescue.
Royal Thai Police confirmed they are collaborating with Immigration to investigate and verify the exact details of Mr Ho’s entry into Thailand and would coordinate with the Vietnamese embassy in order to determine next steps.