Following a number of separate arrests made in Thailand, a bus shepherded 20 Cambodian monks back home through the international checkpoint at Poipet on Saturday afternoon, local officials said yesterday.
Thai authorities claimed none of the men were able to show proper documentation for entering or staying in the neighbouring country – merely monk identification cards, with several carrying patently false identification.
“Such cases have happened before, but [usually] just one or two monks [are arrested],” said Seng Makara, an administrative officer at the International Immigration Office in Poipet. He noted that the deportation of such a large number of men, each arrested in different parts of Thailand, was more unusual.
Police said that the group that returned on Saturday had not been abused in any way.
In late January, seven monks were among a group of 71 Cambodians sent back across the border by Thailand. Nam Yong, an official at the border crossing in Poipet, said at the time that the monks had crossed illegally to beg and none possessed valid passports.