Cambodians deny workers Thai entry

Authorities in Cambodia’s Oddar Meanchey province have refused to issue border pass documents to migrant workers without places of residence in the province.

Officials at Surin province's one-stop migrant worker registration centre — opposite Oddar Meanchey — set up by the junta to receive Cambodian workers wanting to return to Thailand, on Thusday said the Cambodian officials had claimed the documents can only be issued to Oddar Meanchey residents.

Fifteen employers arriving at the Chong Chom-O Smach border checkpoint in Surin’s Kap Choeng district to pick up Cambodian workers were disappointed on Thursday as half of the 100 migrants they expected to hire had not been issued border pass documents.

Officials at Oddar Meanchey checkpoint told the Thai employers that, to qualify for the documents, non-Oddar Meanchey residents had to have lived in the province for at least 60 days.

Between June 26 and Tuesday, 133 Cambodian workers have entered Thailand legally via this checkpoint.

In Samut Sakhon, the number of migrant workers and their dependents registering at the one-stop migrant labour registration centre — open since Monday — has so far reached 4,070.

Employment Department chief Sumet Mahosot on Thursday said he had received a report from the Samut Sakhon employment office that 152 employers took 1,048 migrant workers to register with officials at the centre in the province on Wednesday. Of these workers, 591 were from Myanmar, 176 from Laos and 281 from Cambodia, Mr Sumet said.

The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) on Thursday announced plans to open seven new centres for migrant labour registration to help end illegal employment and human trafficking.

The centres will be set up in Chachoengsao, Ayutthaya, Samut Prakan, Chon Buri, Rayong, Surat Thani and Songkhla, according to Employment Department chief Sumet Mahosot.

The junta intends to open the seven one-stop service centres by July 15.

The centres allow alien workers to obtain temporary work permits allowing 60-day stays while they are verified for permanent permits.

Meanwhile, a suspected member of a human trafficking gang was apprehended in Sa Kaeo province trying to smuggle 23 illegal Cambodian migrant workers into the country.

A combined team of soldiers, police and local officials on Thursday stopped a vehicle for a search on a road in Khlong Hat district following a tip-off that a gang was about to smuggle illegal migrants into the country, said Col Poramin Thaweesuk, commander of the 13th military ranger special task force.

The search discovered 23 illegal Cambodian migrants in the vehicle. The group comprised 12 men, nine women and two girls.

Pichet Kaewprapa, 28, a Thai national and smuggler, was arrested.

The migrant workers told authorities they had sneaked across the border to board the vehicle in Ban Khaodin village in Khlong Hat district to work in Chacheongsao province. They had each paid 2,700 baht to Mr Pichet’s smuggling gang.

Police said they would search for more members of the gang.

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