Mohamassaki Musor, chief of the Narathiwat Shelter for Children and Families, said that of the 21 Rohingya at the shelter, eight women and six children had fled after cutting a way out through the barbed wire wall about 6am on Wednesday.
The escapees, illegal migrants, had earlier asked a member of the shelter staff to help an old Rohingya woman to the toilet, distracting attention so that they could sneak out of the compound and flee into the forest behind the shelter, Mr Mohamassaki said. Their departure through the wire had been filmed by surveillance cameras.
He said the 21 Rohingya migrants had said before being sent to the Narathiwat shelter that they wanted to go to Malaysia to join relatives who illegally entered and settled there.
Shelter staff and local police searched unsuccessfully for the escapees. Their photos were sent to immigration police in Tak Bai, Sungai Kolok and Waeng districts, who were asked to watch out for them.