A total of 175 Cambodian migrant workers, including children, returned from Thailand through the O’Anlok border checkpoint in Ta Sen commune of Battambang province’s Kamrieng district on February 16. Almost one-third of them were required to quarantine as they were unvaccinated against Covid-19, or had received only one dose.
Colonel Mong Sy, commander of the 819th Border Guard Battalion in Kamrieng district, said his forces had received 77 men, 69 women and 29 children. His men had sent 48 of them – 23 men, 18 women, and seven children – to the quarantine centre in Sampov Loun district.
“Based on what I understand from my officers’ conversations with them, they are returning after many years in Thailand because they no longer have work there. Medical teams and my officers educated them about the government’s guidelines for preventing Covid-19 before allowing those who were vaccinated to return home,” he said.
Provincial deputy police chief Hat Lay Le confirmed Mong Sy’s impression, saying that thousands of workers had returned from Thailand. According to a police report, most were vaccinated.
“Many workers are now unemployed, despite having been in Thailand for many years. If unvaccinated, we take them to the quarantine centre. If they are vaccinated and test negative for Covid-19, we let them continue to their homelands,” he said.
Ros Chivy, deputy provincial police chief in charge of anti-human trafficking and juvenile protection, said on February 16 that she did not have the exact number of workers returning from Thailand, but estimated that since January this year, the number of returnees would be close to a thousand.
“Most of these workers have already been vaccinated. Interestingly, we are not finding much activity by brokers smuggling migrant workers back into Thailand,” she said.