Fifteen Cambodians, including six women, were arrested in Thailand’s Sa Kaeo province on Monday and were being detained at the provincial immigration office as of yesterday after being accused of crossing into the country illegally.
They were arrested in Sa Kaeo’s Ta Phraya district after allegedly entering Thailand through an illegal corridor in Banteay Meanchey’s Thmor Pouk district.
Thmor Pouk district governor Deap Chhoun said that despite intervention from Cambodian authorities along the border, the Thai side refused to release the Cambodians and instead sent them to provincial law enforcement for further action.
“On Monday, black-clad Thai soldiers in Ta Phraya district arrested fifteen Cambodians including six women because they crossed into Thailand through an illegal checkpoint,” he said.
“The Cambodia-Thailand working group from the Boeung Trakoun Border Checkpoint cooperated with border police regiment 807 in negotiations to release them. However, the Thai soldiers did not agree and sent them to be detained in Sa Kaeo province.”
The arrests came after Thai authorities on Sunday stopped nearly 50 homemade tractors driven by Cambodians who were transporting chemical fertilizer from Sa Kaeo province into Banteay Meanchey province through an illegal corridor.
A total of 274 Cambodians and 49 homemade tractors were stopped, transporting 655 bags of fertilizer.
The Thai authorities seized 200 bags as evidence, gave the rest back and released the Cambodians.
Ouk Sophanith, police chief in Banteay Meanchey province’s Thmor Pouk district, said it was hard for the Cambodian authorities to secure the release of the 15 now that they had been transported to the Sa Kaeo provincial immigration office.
“There has been no solution yet because Thailand is strictly enforcing their immigration laws right now,” he said. “The authorities along the border and the provincial governor intervened, but the Thais said they had to enforce their law.”