Fleeing illegal workers left stranded

Two groups of Cambodian migrant workers were left stranded in two districts of Prachin Buri on Wednesday after their bus drivers who were supposed to take them to a border crossing to return home feared arrest after the junta launched a campaign to crack down on illegal foreign labour.

The Cambodians were travelling from Rayong and Chon Buri and were expecting to cross back into Cambodia at the Aranyaprathet border point in the neighbouring province of Sa Kaeo to avoid arrest amid a nationwide crackdown on illegal migrant workers by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO).

But the bus driver of each group, both comprising about 100 people, asked them to alight in Si Maha Phot and Kabin Buri districts of Prachin Buri because they feared arrest when passing through military checkpoints.  

Police were alerted by local people who saw the Cambodians, both adults and children, left stranded on the side of the road. The police recorded their personal details and later arranged buses to take them to the Aranyaprathet border crossing. 

Meanwhile, Kyodo news wire reported that Thailand had repatriated 7,507 illegal Cambodian workers in the first nine days of this month, a government official said Wednesday.

Koy Kuong, spokesman for Cambodia's Foreign Ministry, said Thailand routinely repatriated illegal Cambodian workers.

Koy Kuong said repatriation was not only targeted at Cambodians but also other nationals after the military government of Thailand in recent days ordered companies, factories and enterprises in Thailand to not employ illegal workers from any country.      

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