Teen Raped, Woman Assaulted By Men Posing as Thai Soldiers

A teenager was allegedly raped and a woman sexually assaulted by men in Thai military attire after crossing illegally into Sa Kaeo province in search of work Monday, officials said.

Thai police on Wednesday arrested three men—not actual soldiers—who are accused of bringing some 30 Cambodians from Banteay Meanchey province through an unofficial checkpoint before inviting two to a guesthouse where they were allegedly raped and assaulted.

Neth Sary, the Cambodian Em­bassy’s general consul to Sa Kaeo province, said that the pseudo-soldiers had selected the two women from a group of six that were at the Rong Kluea market in Sa Kaeo. The six are now in the care of consul officials, he said.

“A 15-year-old girl was raped by a Thai man, and another 23-year-old woman was indecently assaulted by Thai men,” Mr. Sary said. “Thai police arrested three Thai men on July 23 and the victims have identified them already.”

Koy Kuong, spokesman for the Foreign Affairs Ministry, said that the women had gone with the men because they trusted the people who had smuggled them across the border.

Mr. Kuong said that the three men arrested were ringleaders of a cross-border smuggling operation and that Thai authorities were moving ahead with the case.

“The three Thai men face charges of rape and illegally moving people across the border,” Mr. Kuong said.

More than 250,000 Cambodian migrant workers fled back into Cambodia in June after the military junta began a crackdown on illegal labor.

Both governments have since attempted to streamline the process for workers to cross back across the border—lowering the price of passports from $124 to $4 and establishing new passport offices in 10 provinces—but hundreds of workers a day are still attempting to return illegally, according to officials near the border.

“Our government appeals to the people, please don’t go to work abroad illegally,” Mr. Kuong said. “Thai authorities do not allow it and if you are found, they will arrest you and send you back to Cambodia.”

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