A Zimbabwean family, who had been living at Bangkoko’s Suvarnabhumi airport for the past three months, has finally left Thailand, reports said on Tuesday.
The family of eight – four children under the age of 11 and four adults – got stranded at Bangkok’s main airport late last year, an ordeal over the holiday season that drew widespread sympathy among Thais.
Reports in December indicated that the family had tried to leave Thailand for Spain in October but they lacked visas for onward travel. They also couldn’t re-enter Thailand after overstaying, thus, they were trapped in limbo in the airside area of the airport.
The family said at the time that they could not return to Zimbabwe because they faced persecution following the November unrest that resulted in the removal of long-term leader Robert Mugabe.
Their predicament first emerged after a Thai Facebook user posted a photo of himself giving one of the children a Christmas present.
The post, which explained their predicament, went viral as questions emerged as to how they had lived at the airport for so long.
A BBC report on Tuesday quoted a Thai immigration bureau spokesperson Colonel Cherngron Rimpadee as saying that the family had finally left Bangkok for Philippines.
The report said that a UNHCR refugee camp was located there, “but it was not clear whether it was their final destination,”.
A Coconuts website quoted Rimpadee as saying: “It’s finished. The family is now in the care of the UN.”
“They were gone since yesterday, around 14:00.”