Cambodian migrant workers leaving Thailand hit 225,000

Phnom Penh – The Thai military junta sent other 5,000 Cambodian migrant workers back to Cambodia on Thursday, bringing the total number of Cambodian laborers deported from or fled Thailand over fears of a junta’s crackdown on illegal foreign workers to 225,000, a senior official said.

“As of Thursday evening, about 225,000 Cambodian migrant workers, mostly illegal ones, have been repatriated from Thailand,” Major Gen. Pich Vanna, chief of Cambodian-Thai Border Relation Affairs Office, said via telephone. “About 5,000 laborers were sent back to Cambodia from Thailand today (Thursday).”

The number of Cambodian migrant workers leaving Thailand soared after the Thai junta warned last week that illegal foreign workers could face arrest and deportation.

It was estimated that nearly 400,000 Cambodian workers had been working in Thailand before the clampdown.

Cambodia’s main opposition party on Thursday condemned the Thai military regime for poorly treating Cambodian migrant workers by transporting them in locked police trucks to the border.

“The Cambodia National Rescue Party totally condemns the Thai authorities for having arrested Cambodian workers, crammed them into caged trucks, and transported them to dump at Cambodian-Thai border checkpoints as animals,” said a party’s statement. “This inhuman act is violating human rights.”

Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Sar Kheng on Tuesday slammed the Thai junta for deporting Cambodian migrant workers in a rush without any prior notice or discussion with Cambodia and said the junta must be held accountable for all the problems that have happened.

However, the Thai military regime has denied that it has a policy to crack down on or deport Cambodian migrant workers. Source: Xinhua