Four Cambodians killed illegal

Four of seven Cambodians killed in a construction site accident in Thailand on Tuesday were employed by Italian-Thai Development Plc (ITD) despite crossing the border illegally without work visas, according to a report.

“Among the seven dead, three are legal. They have been sent by KLM Manpower in Phnom Penh,” the Phnom Penh Post quoted Cambodian Foreign Affairs spokesman Koy Kuong as saying on Thursday.

“But four have crossed illegally into Thailand.”

Mr Kuong added that among the 14 Cambodians injured in the workplace accident, some were also illegal migrant workers.

The seven were among at least 10 people killed by a falling beam at a construction site in Samut Prakan province’s Bang Phli district, where ITD is expanding the Ramathibodi Hospital’s medical centre, under the supervision of ACSE 110 Consortium.

The Phnom Penh Post, quoting a woman from ITD identifying herself only as Kanyakorn, replied to emailed questions about the accident before Kuong’s announcement.

She said that in total, 217 Cambodians had been working on the site and “come from recruitment agencies”.

She would not elaborate and did not respond to further questions after Mr Kuong told the Post about the illegal workers.

In her initial response, Kanyakorn said the company would pay compensation to the families of the victims “according to law”, improve safety and increase the number of “safety staff”.

Mr Kuong said ITD had already offered the families of those who died payments of about $600 to cover funeral and transport costs.

“It’s not full compensation, and they will offer more later,” he said.

The mournful task of returning the bodies of the Cambodian workers began yesterday, Mr Kuong added.

“All the bodies have left the hospital and are being sent back from Thailand.”

“KLM has also sent its representative to Thailand,” he said. KLM will also offer compensation to the victims.”

In search of better-paying jobs, many Cambodians migrate to Thailand. More than 300,000 work there legally, while an untold number have secured work off the books, including by crossing the border illegally.

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