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Cambodians Freed from Malaysia, Thailand

Ven Rathavong / Khmer Times Share:
Illegal Cambodian migrant workers detained in Thailand last year. Reuters

The Foreign Ministry last Thursday secured the release of 23 Cambodians who had been arrested and detained last month for overstaying their visas and working illegally in Malaysia.
Another 16 Cambodians detained by Thai authorities for lacking passports were released as well.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Chum Sounry said the Cambodian embassy in Kuala Lumpur worked to release 23 people who had been held in a jail in Malaysia’s Kedah state since August 5.
He told reporters that the Malaysian government decided not to take the charges against the 23 to court because they could have faced sentences spanning several months.
“Following the demands of the embassy, Malaysian employer Hairul Azmidolah agreed to pay for the flights home of the 23 Cambodian citizens,” Mr. Sounry said, adding that the group will arrive in Phnom Penh on Wednesday.
Mr. Sounry also said that 16 Cambodians were repatriated last week after Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn ordered the consulate in Thailand’s Sa Kaeo province to intervene. Thai officials had arrested the group for traveling without passports.
The Cambodian consul in Sa Kaeo visited the workers, who were being held at the military headquarters in the province, and found that they had been issued with documents allowing them to stay in the country legally, including passports. But they said they had been robbed by their employer in Bangkok.
“Those 16 workers decided to resign, but their employer would not allow them to and confiscated their passports,” he said. “The General Consulate coordinated with Thai authorities to release those workers, and we have contacted the Thai employer so they can get their passports back.”
Once the workers received their passports yesterday, they were taken home through the Poipet border checkpoint.

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