Ten Cambodian men were repatriated from Thailand on Wednesday after they spent one year in Thai detention.
The National Police yesterday reported that Thai authorities arrested them after they crossed the border illegally into a prohibited area in Thailand’s Trat province.
“Thai authorities detained them for about a year because when they crossed the border, they entered a prohibited area,” the report said. “They were sent back to Cambodia through Cham Yeam checkpoint in Koh Kong province.”
The report added that police officials helped the men and warned them not to cross into another country without permission in the future before transporting them back to their hometown.
The Cambodian and Thai governments are currently working to register thousands of migrant workers with legal paperwork. So far, about 320,000 Cambodian migrant workers have been registered, while 40,000 have not.
Labour Minister Ith Samheng said on Tuesday that most migrant workers in Thailand entered through legal channels. He said that both governments are giving a chance to undocumented workers to become legal.
“So far, there are more than 40,000 Cambodian migrant workers who have not obtained their legal documents,” Mr Samheng said. “They have one more month to complete their paperwork.”
He said that ministry officials in Thailand are providing paperwork for about 2,000 migrant workers per day.
“I hope that in one month we can complete our plan as agreed by the Thai and Cambodian governments,” he said.
Speaking at an annual National Committee for Counter Trafficking in Persons meeting, Chou Bun Eng, head of the committee, said last week that illegal workers in Thailand face deportation.
She said that last year, Thai authorities deported 73,275 workers back to Cambodia through the Poipet border checkpoint. Battambang province resettled 56,720 migrant workers and Pailin province resettled 1,246 workers.