Post reporter visits beach where Rohingya boatpeople awaited their fate If you were looking for a secret beach, then it would be hard to find a better spot than the north side of Koh Sai Daeng, which sits in the Andaman Sea on a lonely stretch of Thai coast where jungle-covered mountains meet the water. No village or town is visible from its shore. To the north are a few islands. Beyond, only empty ocean and the islands of southern Myanmar. The resorts and crowds of Phuket are more than 400km to the south. On this short stretch of sand, hundreds of Rohingya migrants have awaited their fate on the high seas. For many, their bid to flee persecution and hardship in Myanmar effectively ends here, as they find themselves forced again to the mercy of the ocean. With a Thai photographer, I waded ashore at dusk on Tuesday, unaware the United Nations refugee agency had just requested urgent access to the island, fearing for 80 Rohingya migrants the agency believed were being detained there. In the gathering gloom we found many recent signs of life. All that was missing was the people themselves. Hauntingly, thousands of footprints covered the sands in a maze of fresh tracks. Burmese slippers, cloth and T-shirts lay scattered about. Further up the beach were several large fire pits, the cold ash unscattered by the wind. Crudely improvised rock benches surrounded them. Waste pits at the top of the beach contained broken egg shells - some still holding fluid - bird remains and empty energy drink and water bottles. One pit was a mass of writhing maggots. Further back, almost in the jungle itself, was a freshly bored well, more than 3 metres deep. It was perfectly round, with reinforced sides. It was dry, but other smaller holes nearby were filled with fetid, stagnant water. If the Rohingya boatpeople were kept on the island for long, it would have been an uncomfortable experience. Little actual shelter was evident - a few upturned fish traps and shelters made from vines and leaves seemed the only protection from the elements, apart from the overhanging trees. We scanned the edge of the bush looking for tracks or signs of another clearing. At every turn we met a tangle of vines and creepers and island walls soaring straight up. Anyone stuck on Koh Sai Daeng would have nowhere to flee. The fate of Koh Sai Daeng's last occupiers, and precisely when they left remains unknown. The torn wrapping of a battery pack carrying Thai army markings found at the site suggests they were not alone, however. It bore the designation: 'BATTERY DRY BA-386/PRC77 SIGNAL DEPARTMENT RTA'. The PRC77 is a military field radio, with voice-scrambling capabilities. RTA is a common abbreviation for the Royal Thai Army. United Nations officials and other rights groups are intensifying the pressure on Thailand to ensure the beach's previous residents will be its last. Getting to the island was not as easy as it should have been. Local boatmen and fisherman in villages on the coast were keen to help - but fearful of rumours of a heavy security presence surrounding the island. With shadows lengthening, we finally found a Muslim family keen to help - like others in the village, they were worried about the Rohingya. After about an hour's putter in a long boat across the crests of the waves kicked up by an evening squall, we arrived at our destination. The island loomed up, about the size of Green Island off Hong Kong, but twice as high and more heavily wooded. The only sound came from the cries of sea eagles roosting and soaring above its jungle peak. It appeared impenetrable on all sides until the northern most point was reached and the sliver of beach swung into view. We arrived wanting answers but left with only clues after about 75 minutes. As we sailed for home, sparks of tropical phosphorescence lit up our wake; like the hopes of the Rohingya, they flared briefly before fading into the ocean night.