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People wait at a Koh Kong police station earlier this week after they were detained for attempting to illegally cross into Thailand. Photo supplied
People wait at a Koh Kong police station earlier this week after they were detained for attempting to illegally cross into Thailand. Photo supplied

Patrol thwarts bid to cross Thai border illegally

Police in Koh Kong province reported yesterday that 49 Cambodians were caught trying to cross the Thai border during a forest patrol on Monday in Smach Meanchey district.

Srey Touch, director of the provincial police force’s anti-human trafficking and child protection unit, said 21 were from Prey Veng province, 14 from Kampong Cham and 14 from Koh Kong, adding that they claimed to work on fishing boats in Thailand.

“During the interrogation, they said that they worked on fishing boats in Thailand, but they had no documents, except three of them who had cards issued by Thai authorities,” he said.

Touch said the group was released after being informed of the dangers of illegal migration.

Separately, locals in Banteay Meanchey province’s Malai district yesterday claimed to have seen more than a hundred Cambodians walk through the forest and sugarcane fields into Thailand within the past week.

Ke Nith, who lives in the district’s Sangke village, said he had seen dozens.

“I do not see a police crackdown to curb them,” he said.

However, Malai district governor Em Sokha denied that there were any illegal crossings or routes into Thailand from the district.

On Sunday, the National Police reported that more than 400 Cambodians were arrested and sent back by Thai officials over the four-day Khmer New Year, though no reason was given for their deportation.

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