A husband and wife from Banteay Meanchey province have been arrested in a joint operation between Cambodian and Thai police after the husband was caught allegedly crafting fake visas for Cambodian migrant workers in Thailand.
The pair were arrested on Friday after Thai police apprehended two workers at the border the day before who were carrying passports with counterfeited visas.
Police then laid a trap for the alleged forgers by asking the two visa bearers to call the husband, Yann Chantorn, 29, and arrange a meeting at a market across the Thai border.
He was then arrested, while his wife, Seng Ly, was arrested in their Poipet commune home, where police confiscated 23 passports and 14 faked stamps.
Banteay Meanchey deputy provincial police chief Oum Sophal, who could not confirm if Ly was actively involved in the scheme, said Chantorn had been masterminding fraud for the past two years, charging 8,000 baht ($227) per visa.
Moeun Tola, executive director of labour rights group Central, warned that vulnerable migrants could be “doubly victimised” by passport and visa fraud.
“First they are victimised by being trafficked by the illegal broker . . . And they fall victim again if they are arrested and jailed [with fake documents acquired by the broker],” he said.
“[The Cambodian migrants] often know nothing about whether it is legal or illegal.”
Additional reporting by Erin Handley