Government Orders Search for Prisoners in Malaysia

Foreign Affairs Minister Prak Sokhonn has ordered Cambodian Embassy staff in Malaysia to find out whether more nationals are being held in any of the country’s detention facilities after 18 Cambodians were released from a prison in Kuala Lumpur last week.

Malaysia has become a popular destination for Cambodians looking for better paying jobs abroad, but many end up in detention centers after overstaying visas arranged by unscrupulous brokers or escaping from abusive employers.

One woman who returned on Monday said she was forced to marry a man by the couple she worked for and bore him two children.

According to a statement issued by the Foreign Affairs Ministry on Thursday, Mr. Sokhonn told embassy staff in Malaysia to search for any additional prisoners and, where possible, to visit them and help them return home.

A year ago, the ministry issued a similar order to Princess Norodom Arunrasmey, then Cambodia’s ambassador to Malaysia, to investigate reports that hundreds of nationals were imprisoned in the country’s Selangor state.

It is unclear what came of the probe. 

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