Border officials at the Poipet international checkpoint in Banteay Meanchey province said yesterday that nearly 6,800 Cambodians have been deported from Thailand since the beginning of the month, an 8.5 percent jump on the already deportee-heavy month of January.
Police chief for Poipet City, Um Sophal, said that in response to the higher number of deportees, officials were tightening their screening of those leaving Cambodia. On Monday, 10 Cambodians were detained at the border for trying to cross illegally into Thailand.
“We released them and returned them home after educating them that we have tensions with Thailand,” Mr Sophal said.
An Adhoc report released Tuesday said there had been 20 Cambodians killed by Thai authorities related to illegal border crossings since 2008.
“The situation is that we have to pay attention to Cambodians attempting to work in Thailand. We always educate them to stop immigrating [illegally] because it is dangerous,” Mr Sophal said.
Provincial anti-human trafficking police chief Sith Luos said that despite the risks and reported dangers of crossing illegally into Thai territory, numbers of illegal Cambodian migrants have not been dropping.
At Oddar Meanchey province’s O’Smach checkpoint, Thai-Cambodia border communications officer Nanh Sovann said that authorities have managed to cut down on the number of Cambodians illegally crossing the border and being deported back through a comprehensive education campaign.
“It has decreased because some of our villagers now have knowledge about the difficult situation abroad,” he said.
About 300 Cambodians cross into Thailand illegally each day, estimated Banteay Meanchey provincial Adhoc coordinator, Soum Chankea.
“The authorities must pay more attention to those emigrating without a visa,” Mr Chankea said. “We are very concerned about the safety and security of villagers going to work in Thailand,” he added.
Chea Manith, director of the Ministry of Social Affairs’ Banteay Meanchey Transit Center, noted that most Cambodians heading to Thailand are men looking for work in construction, restaurants or agriculture plantations.
“Villagers are attracted to [the idea] of making a good profit in Thailand,” she said.