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‘Hostages’ swapped with Thailand

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Thirteen Cambodian workers pose for a photograph after they were arrested by Thai officials last week. ANN

‘Hostages’ swapped with Thailand

Incensed by Thai authorities’ arrest of their family members, residents of Banteay Meanchey’s Thma Puok district took conflict resolution into their own hands on Saturday by holding Thai trucks hostage on their side of the border for days until Thai and Cambodian officials agreed to pay their relatives’ bail.

Plek Ravy, the governor of Thma Puok district in Banteay Meanchey province, said the 13 Cambodians worked in an electronic parts factory in Thailand’s Sa Kaeo province. When inspectors from Thailand’s Ministry of Labour visited the factory on June 3, said Ravy, they discovered it had no licence to operate and arrested the 13 for working in Thailand illegally.

According to Ravy, the workers live along the Thai-Cambodian border in Banteay Meanchey’s Kork Romiet commune. On the same day as their arrest by Thai authorities, their families halted 26 trucks belonging to Thai vendors buying agricultural products in Kork Romiet, holding the trucks hostage until Wednesday.

Fortunately, according to Ravy, Thai and Cambodian authorities managed to find a solution agreeable to all.

“The meeting on Wednesday with Ta Phraya District Governor Arayan Thayai, led to the permission to bail [the Cambodian workers] out” by paying a sum amounting to 3,000 baht per worker to the Sa Kaeo Provincial Court, Ravy said. “However, the money was paid by the Sa Kaeo and Banteay Meanchey provincial governors.”

Banteay Meanchey Provincial Governor Soun Bovor confirmed this account, saying he “paid half, and the other half was paid by the provincial governor of Sa Kaeo and the governor of Ta Phraya district”.

Ravy added that the 13 Cambodian workers and the Thai trucks were returned to their respective countries on Wednesday night.

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