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‘Deceived’ farmers locked in Thai jail

Four Cambodian farmers who thought they paid for documents allowing them to work in Thailand remain behind bars in the neighbouring country following their arrest on April 23.

Three men and a woman from Prey Veng province each paid 9,500 baht ($300) for documents they believed allowed them to work in Thailand to broker Huy Tom, said So Heurn, 56, whose son was arrested in possession of fake documentation.

“When my son arrived in Thailand, the police arrested him and the other three at Sa Kaeo province,” Heurn said. “He … said they were arrested for false documentation, but I have not been able to contact him since.”

Those arrested include Som Khum, 44; Moa Tren, 46; Sou Dina, 25, and Khoun Srey Noun, 22.

When Heurn and families of the other three arrested tried to contact the man they say provided documentation that resulted in their arrests, none could reach him, according to a complaint they filed with rights group Adhoc.

Eng Kimly, an Adhoc coordinator working on the case, said families of the detainees reported being under the impression that they were paying for above-the-board access to work on a Thai farm.

“They attempted to find work at a plantation in Thailand, but were arrested upon arrival,” Kimly said.

“We do not know whether the broker cheated them or if the documents are legal or not, and have urged the families to file a complaint with the authorities.”

Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Koy Kuong could not be reached.

Meanwhile, a Phnom Penh Municipal judge on Saturday found four Chinese men guilty of human trafficking and three Cambodian women guilty of trafficking as well as providing fake documents.

“The three Cambodian women were caught while they were preparing to send three girls to China by plane from Phnom Penh International Airport,” police told the Post. Police found and arrested the others based on information provided by six victims between the ages of 17 and 25.

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