Thailand repatriated 100 Cambodians through the Poipet international checkpoint on Wednesday for working and living in Thailand illegally, border officials said.
“They have been arrested and sent back to Cambodia because the authorities are cleaning up illegal workers and persons who live in Thailand after their visas have expired,” said Pich Saran, chief of the Poipet checkpoint.
“More than 20,000 Cambodians were sent back to Cambodia through the Poipet international checkpoint in 2004,” Pich Saran said Wednesday, adding that between 20 and 150 Cambodians are deported through this checkpoint everyday.
Many have been deported on more than one occasion, he said.
Poipet border police Chief Chhouk Ang said Wednesday that a large number of Cambodians are crossing the Thai border illegally to work in construction, fishing and farming. He said those jobs pay double what they would earn for equivalent jobs in Cambodia.
Chhouk Ang also said that some of the deportees had been flown to Thailand from Malaysia, where they had been arrested for working without permits.
“They are trying to work in [other] countries because they can make good money. They do not care about politics—only about getting good money to support their families,” he said.