230 Women, Children Deported From Thailand

More than 230 Cambodian wo­men and children were deported from Thailand on Sunday, according to a Thai newspaper report.

The 142 women and 94 children were smuggled into Thai­land to beg or work as flower garland sellers in Bangkok, the Nation newspaper quoted Major General Pongsapat Pongcharoen, Thailand’s immigration police deputy commissioner, as saying.

The report did not say where the people were sent or their mode of transportation. The Thai Embassy in Cambodia had no fur­ther information Monday, embassy Second Secretary Songchai Chaipatiyut said.

The children ranged in age from 1 month to 1 year old, the newspaper reported.

Nuth Ly, O’Chrou district po­lice chief in Banteay Meanchey pro­vince, said he was not aware of such a large shipment of deportees over the weekend. He noted that Thai immigration police deport 10 to 20 Cambodian workers every day on trucks through the Poipet border crossing. Some 4,200 Cambodians have been de­­ported for illegal entry to Thai­land since Jan 1, the Nation reported.

Many Cambodian laborers do not have the money to pay for a one-week border pass and cross illegally to harvest sugar cane or potatoes on Thai farms, he said. Nuth Ly said the immigration police no longer physically abuse deportees as they once did.

“This is a vulnerable group,” said Naly Pilorge, director of human rights NGO Licadho.

So far, police have denied Li­ca­dho access to the deportees, despite attempts to interview and assess the needs of some 900 deportees who passed through a holding facility in Phnom Penh’s Dangkao district in October.

The Cambodians, branded beg­gars by Thai officials, were deported as authorities in Bangkok prepared for the Asian Pacific Eco­nomic Cooperation forum.

Related Stories

Latest News

The Weekly DispatchA new weekly newsletter from The Cambodia Daily delivering news, analysis and opinion to your inbox. Published every Friday at 11:30am. Sign up today.