Amidst a nationwide crackdown in Thailand against illegal migrant workers, Thai authorities deported 240 Cambodian workers from a village just inside the Thai border yesterday, a provincial police official said.
Yesterday’s deportation came as a Thai newspaper reported that 403 Cambodian illegal migrant workers were arrested in Thailand’s Samut Sakhon province south of Bangkok.
Hun Hean, Banteay Meanchey provincial police chief, said the group of 240 Cambodian workers had been arrested by Thai police at a village in Thailand’s Sa Keo province on Wednesday. Mr Hean added that the number of illegal migrant workers deported from Thailand yesterday was not much more than the regular “100 to 200” who are sent back through the Poipet border checkpoint every day.
“They sent 240 migrant workers back via the Poipet international border checkpoint [Thursday] morning,” Mr Hean said.
“Some of them were working in the [Thai] village and some were waiting to move on to Bangkok for work.
“[On Wednesday], around 100 migrant workers were sent back. It’s normal for them to send back…around 100 to 200 workers a day.”
In a separate case yesterday, the Thai-language newspaper Post Today reported that 403 Cambodians were among 719 illegal migrant workers arrested by the Samut Sakhon provincial police over the past three weeks.
A translation of the article provided by the Human Rights and Development Foundation’s Migrant Justice Program in Bangkok said that the arrested workers, most of whom were found working in small businesses, will face prosecution before they are deported.
On June 2, Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva signed an order for the creation of a government center to help crack down on the number of illegal migrant workers in Thailand.
Oum Mean, secretary of state at the Labor Ministry, said yesterday that Cambodian migrant workers were being arrested because they did not have official documents.
“It is very hard for us to control them and we have always urged them to go [to Thailand] through licensed companies,” Mr Mean said.
According to the latest figures from the Thai Ministry of Labor, distributed on Wednesday by the International Organization for Migration, more than 26,000 Cambodian workers who had previously held work permits in Thailand are at risk of arrest and expulsion because they did not apply to the Thai government’s new nationality verification program earlier this year.
(Additional reporting by Van Roeun)