Police Official Denies Reports of Mass Khmer Krom Deportation

A senior police official in Banteay Meanchey province has denied claims by Khmer Krom activist groups that 62 ethnic Khmers from Vietnam who were seeking asylum in Bangkok were deported from Thailand to Poipet municipality on Monday.

Banteay Meanchey’s Provincial Police Chief Hun Hean denied that any Khmer Krom had been deported and that a group in Poipet were a few Vietnamese adults but mostly Cambodian women and children who were deported after being accused of begging and working illegally in Thailand.

“We received six Vietnamese [adults], and 27 Cambodian children, and seven Cambodian women, who were shipped by Thai truck because they were accused of working illegally in Thailand or begging,” the police chief said. “I did not receive Khmer Krom.”

Ang Chanrith, executive director of the Khmer Kampuchea Krom Human Rights Association, who traveled to Poipet on Tues

day to meet the deportees, said that he didn’t find them.

But, Mr Chanrith remained adamant that the 62 do actually exit, and claimed that he had received a report that they were still in detention inside Thailand.

Thach Setha, executive director of the Khmer Krom Community, who was one of the sources of the weekend report that the 62, who were reportedly seeking asylum in Bangkok, had been rounded up, also maintained Tuesday that they still existed and were still in Thailand.

“They are not across the border yet,” he said.

Toshitsuki Kawauchi, protection officer for UNHCR Cambodia, wrote by email Tuesday that the office “does not have confirmation on the deportation of the reported group of Khmer Krom from Thailand to Cambodia.”

(Additional reporting by Bethany Lindsay)




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