Thailand grants citizenship to some of the boys and coach rescued from cave

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Thailand grants citizenship to some of the boys and coach rescued from cave

Three of the boys and a soccer coach rescued from a cave in Thailand last month have been granted citizenship, Thailand’s foreign ministry told ABC News Wednesday.

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PHOTO: Mongkol Boonpiam, left, receives an identity card denoting Thai citizenship from Somsak Kunkam, Sheriff of Mae Sai during a ceremony in Chiang Rai province, Thailand, Aug. 8, 2018.Chiang Rai Public Relations Office via AP
Mongkol Boonpiam, left, receives an identity card denoting Thai citizenship from Somsak Kunkam, Sheriff of Mae Sai during a ceremony in Chiang Rai province, Thailand, Aug. 8, 2018.

All four had previously been stateless, but had applied for Thai citizenship before they became trapped in the cave.

PHOTO: Former soccer coach Ekkapol Chantawong, left, receives an identity card denoting Thai citizenship from Somsak Kunkam, Sheriff of Mae Sai during a ceremony in Chiang Rai province, Thailand, Aug. 8, 2018.Chiang Rai Public Relations Office via AP
Former soccer coach Ekkapol Chantawong, left, receives an identity card denoting Thai citizenship from Somsak Kunkam, Sheriff of Mae Sai during a ceremony in Chiang Rai province, Thailand, Aug. 8, 2018.

The three players — Adul Sam-on, Mongkol Boonpiam and Pornchai Kamluang — and their coach, Ekkapol Chantawong, were rescued from a flooded cave in northern Thailand after they were found trapped along with nine other young soccer players. Divers mounted a daring mission to get them out, captivating people worldwide.

PHOTO: Adul Sam-on, left, receives an identity card denoting Thai citizenship from Somsak Kunkam, Sheriff of Mae Sai during a ceremony in Chiang Rai province, Thailand, Aug. 8, 2018.Chiang Rai Public Relations Office via AP
Adul Sam-on, left, receives an identity card denoting Thai citizenship from Somsak Kunkam, Sheriff of Mae Sai during a ceremony in Chiang Rai province, Thailand, Aug. 8, 2018.

Thailand is home to ethnic minorities and tribes with roots in neighboring countries, including Myanmar, Laos and China, who are considered stateless. The cave is located close to the border of Myanmar.

The three boys and coach were born in Thailand, according to the Associated Press, but did not have citizenship, which deprived them of some benefits and rights like the ability to travel outside the region.

PHOTO: Pornchai Kamluang, left, receives an identity card denoting Thai citizenship from Somsak Kunkam, Sheriff of Mae Sai during a ceremony in Chiang Rai province, Thailand, Aug. 8, 2018.Chiang Rai Public Relations Office via AP
Pornchai Kamluang, left, receives an identity card denoting Thai citizenship from Somsak Kunkam, Sheriff of Mae Sai during a ceremony in Chiang Rai province, Thailand, Aug. 8, 2018.

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