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Police foil bid to smuggle migrants into Thailand

Pech Sotheary / Khmer Times Share:
KT/Pann Rachana

Oddar Meanchey provincial police on Wednesday arrested two people suspected of trying to smuggle nearly 30 Cambodian migrant workers into Thailand.

Provincial anti-human trafficking police chief Colonel Lim Poly yesterday identified them as Kong Saroeun, 50 and Tith Key, 51, who were arrested while attempting to smuggle 27 Cambodians, including two children, into Thai territory through the O’ Khla Khmum border corridor in Samraong city’s O’ Smach commune.

“We are now questioning the two suspects, a man and a woman and the people who were cheated by these brokers, in order to prepare a case to send to the court,” he said.

Col Poly said the 27 who were trying to go to Thailand were from Prey Veng, Siem Reap, Banteay Meanchey and Oddar Meanchey provinces.

He said they had been educated by the officials and asked to sign a contract promising to stop trying to cross the border illegally.

“We have prepared a truck to send them back to their home provinces and the two suspects are likely to be sent to the court tomorrow [today],” Col Poly added.

In late April, Interior Minister Sar Kheng ordered the authorities in border provinces to tighten lockdowns at checkpoints during the COVID-19 pandemic because some migrant workers attempt to illegally cross into neighbouring countries in search of jobs.

He also ordered the authorities to search for brokers who arrange for such illegal crossings.

“In cases where authorities of the neighbouring countries detain Cambodians who illegally cross into their territory, the provincial authorities should negotiate for the repatriations as soon as possible,” Mr Kheng said. “They should also check the health of returnees, quarantine them and transport those who test negative for the virus [after the 14-day quarantine] to their home provinces.”

A National Committee for Anti-Human Trafficking report released last month said, there were 169 human and sex trafficking cases reported last year. It said 229 suspects were arrested and 445 victims were rescued, with most of them either sent to the Department of Social Affairs or reunited with their families.

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