Four Laborers Killed in Crash Avoiding Thai Border Police

Four Cambodian laborers who were seeking to work illegally in Thailand were killed when their truck crashed as the driver avoided a police checkpoint.

The four laborers had gone over the border to the Thai pro­vince of Sa Kaew, where on the evening of May 2 they boarded a bus headed for Bangkok, said Nuth Ly, police chief of O’Chrou district, which includes Poipet.

The Thai driver drove around the checkpoint, prompting police to give chase, Nuth Ly said. The roads were slick from rain, he said. The victims were identified as Mony Thol, 17; Them Sothy, 33; and Seng Chum Nith, 17. The fourth body was unidentified.

“Thai police did not shoot them, it was a traffic accident, ac­cording to the Cambodian au­thor­ity’s investigation.” Nuth Ly said.

It was unclear exactly how the crash occurred, or how many people were injured. Nuth Ly said one was injured. Sok Pheap, chief of the military relations office be­tween Cambodia and Thailand, said 13 were injured. There were 17 people in the truck at the time of the crash, said Pich Saran, im­migration police chief at the Poipet checkpoint. The bodies of the victims, in­cluding one wo­man, were returned to Cam­bo­dia by Thai au­thor­ities through the Poipet checkpoint Friday. Re­latives took them to Wat Palilai in Poipet to be cremated.

“This is a very sad and sorry situation,” Nuth Ly said. “[But] we could not blame Thai police for this, because it is their duty to crack down on illegal immigration into their country. If Thais il­legally enter Cambodia, we arrest them as well.”

Poipet police estimate that 100 workers illegally cross into Thai­land every day. Laborers say they can earn between $2 and $3 a day. Cambodians from border areas can work legally if they purchase a 10-baht (about $0.23) daily pass. But many do not purchase the pass, or stay months at a time before they are caught and sent back. They often spend weeks in detention first.

 

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