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Man held in attempt to traffick 59 people

A CAMBODIAN man arrested over the weekend on suspicion of attempting to illegally smuggle 59 people – 11 of them underage – into Thailand to work as fishermen has been charged with human trafficking, police said yesterday.

Sok Khemarin, deputy municipal police chief, said yesterday that Hea Vuth, 35, was arrested in Russey Keo district on Friday on suspicion of planning to send the workers, hailing from Prey Veng province, across the Thai border. He said that the man was sent to Phnom Penh Municipal Court, where he was charged with human trafficking.

“The broker would not lead the workers through the border gate, but would instead have travelled by boat in Koh Kong province before selling them as fishermen,” he said.

Sok Khemarin said that those wishing to work abroad should go through the proper channels, and pointed out the dangers illegal migrants face.

“We will not forgive the broker. Most of the Khmer workers were cheated and would not return to their home country. Being a fisherman they have to travel far and sometimes will disappear altogether,” he said.

He added that authorities in Prey Veng had been alerted to the case.

Vann Saroeun, Prey Veng deputy police chief, said he sent police to Phnom Penh to escort the workers home on Saturday.

“We have educated them about migration before letting them go home safely,” he said.

Municipal Court prosecutor Sok Roeun could not be reached for comment yesterday.

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