A dozen Cambodian migrant workers suspected of cutting down trees in a Thai protected forest were arrested on Sunday by military police at a rubber plantation in Thailand’s Nakhon Reachasima province.
According to a report by the Bangkok Post, Thai military police conducted a raid on the rubber plantation after villagers reported that the migrant workers had gathered there Sunday morning.
“[Police] found 12 Cambodian nationals at the plantation and arrested them,” the report said. “According to officials, they confessed to sneaking into the country illegally through a natural border channel along the Thai-Cambodian border on the instructions of a group of Cambodian investors.”
“[The investors] told them they would be transported from the rubber plantation to Khon Buri district town before being sent to other parts of Thailand for jobs that paid a daily wage of as high as [$315] each,” it added, noting that Thai military police suspect that the group had entered Thailand illegally to cut down and smuggle rosewood trees because other groups had been arrested for the same reason.
Brigadier General Tim Sareth, acting director of RCAF’s Cambodia-Thailand Border Relations office, said he was not aware of the incident.
Major General Ath Khem, chief of Banteay Meanchey provincial police, could not be reached for comment, while his deputy Brigadier General Rem Virak, who is in charge of border affairs, declined to comment.
In February, 18 workers were reportedly arrested as they were using equipment to cut down rosewood trees in a national park in northeastern Thailand.