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Broker bust on Thai border

Broker bust on Thai border

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Battambang provincial police detained four brokers and 51 migrant workers, including 19 minors, who were attempting to illegally cross into Thailand early yesterday morning, police said.

Photo Supplied/Phnom Penh Post
A group of would-be migrant workers wait at Battambang police station after being detained yesterday while attempting to illegally cross the Thai-Cambodian border with the help of four brokers.

At about 3am yesterday, police stopped the brokers, who were driving two vans crammed with the 51 villagers, mostly from Pursat province, attempting to illegally cross the border into Thailand without documentation, Battambang anti-human trafficking and juvenile protection director Koy Heang said.

“Investigating police hunted down the two trucks, because they were filled with people who looked strange, not like they were from Battambang, and when police detained them, they admitted they were trying to illegally cross into Thailand,” Koy Heang said.

He said the four brokers will be sent to court for questioning and charging tomorrow, and the 51 villagers attempting to cross the border illegally will be sent to the social affairs department for reeducation.

“So many of these victims are minors [under 18], and most paid the brokers between 2,000 and 3,000 baht [between US$65 and $98] for the crossing,” Koy Heang said, adding that all but one of the villagers, including the minors, had been told they would receive work in factories in Thailand.

One man was told he was going to be a farmer.

Adhoc provincial officer Prak Sophima said the villagers were victims of human trafficking.

“This is the first case this year in Battambang,” Prak Sophima said, adding that Battambang was a popular illegal border-crossing destination for people from many of the surrounding provinces.

“But when these victims cross into Thailand illegally without any documentation, they usually end up going to work somewhere else like Malaysia or Indonesia, and this is the reason that nowadays so many families complain to Adhoc about their missing children abroad,” he said.

“People put themselves at risk when they immigrate without enough information and they hurry to believe the broker’s lure.”

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