Men say owners kept them at sea for two years
TWO Thai and one Myanmarese fishermen have been arrested in Preah Sihanouk province on suspicion of illegally entering Cambodian waters after escaping from a Thai boat on which, they said, they were mistreated.
Provincial police Chief Tak Vanntha said Thursday that the men were on Phuluvai Island when found by naval police on September 1.
The Thai fishermen were identified as Aphiwadd Khavivong, 25, from Thailand’s Ayutthaya province, and Manop Kesaro, 57, from Samutprakan province. The third man, Nai Yawaddy, 25, is a citizen of Myanmar.
The men said they were working on a Thai fishing boat but decided to abandon ship and swim to the island due to poor onboard working conditions and mistreatment.
“Our passports and identity cards were taken by the fishing boat owner, and they forced us to work from 16 to 18 hours a day. The boat did not dock for about two years,” Aphiwadd Khavivong told police last week.
The men are being detained at the provincial police station and have been supplied with food and medicine while awaiting a decision from the police regarding their return to their respective home countries.
“This is a fine act of humanitarianism done by our police,” said Ny Chakrya, head investigation officer at the local rights group Adhoc.
“We should contact their ambassadors in Cambodia so we can send them back home.”