Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Police say numbers at border unprecedented

Police say numbers at border unprecedented

Police say numbers at border unprecedented

More than 450 Cambodians – including men, women and children – have been stopped attempting to illegally cross the border into Thailand through Banteay Meanchey province’s Poipet district in the past three days, a figure police there called unprecedented.

Poipet police chief Om Sophal said yesterday that from April 20 through April 22, 461 Cambodians crossing back into Thailand after returning home to celebrate Khmer New Year were detained, educated on the dangers of such illegal crossings and sent back to their hometowns.

“They flock to cross illegally without documents,” he said, adding that would-be emigrants would have no problems if they chose to cross the border through legal channels. “They risk crossing without any thought of the dangers.”

According to Sophal, the mass exodus of Cambodians – mostly workers from Battambang, Pursat, Kampong Cham, Kampong Thom , Takeo, Prey Veng, Siem Reap, Preah Sihanouk, Kampot and Banteay Meanchey provinces – has been much faster than in years past.

“Every year, after Khmer New Year ends, there are many Cambodians illegally crossing into Thailand for jobs, but there have not been many workers gathering to cross like this,” he said, noting that the flow of migrants back to Thailand was usually more trickle than flood. “They seem not to fear the police when they cross illegally a lot. That’s why we collected them to provide education.”

Chan Dareth, a worker from Siem Reap who was stopped by authorities, said that the promise of many jobs with favourable pay had tempted him into crossing the Thai border.

“I heard from a friend that there are a lot of jobs in Thailand with high wages, so I wanted to try it,” he said. “But I did not want to go there legally, because I would need to spend more money, so I and my group attempted to cross illegally, [but] we had to stop to be educated.”

According to a report from the National Committee to Lead the Suppression of Human Trafficking, Smuggling, Labor and Sexual Exploitation, more than 123,000 Cambodians were repatriated by Thai authorities in 2012, including more than 37,000 women and almost 16,000 children. 

MOST VIEWED

  • Proof giants walked among us humans?

    For years a debate has waged about whether certain bas relief carvings at the 12th-century To Prohm Temple, one of the most popular attractions at the Angkor Wat Temple Complex in Siem Reap province, depicted dinosaurs or some rather less exotic and more contemporary animal,

  • Japan bank buys major stake in ANZ Royal Bank

    Japan's largest bank acquired more than half of ANZ’s shares in Cambodia on Thursday, according to a statement from Kith Meng’s Royal Group. Japan's JTrust Bank, announced that they had acquired a 55% of stake in ANZ Royal Bank. According to a Royal Group

  • Long way to go before Cambodia gets a ‘smart city’

    Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Battambang will struggle to attain smart city status without adopting far reaching master plans, according to officials tasked with implementing the program. The brainchild of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), the smart city program seeks to link up

  • New US bill ‘is a violation of Cambodian independence’

    After a US congressmen introduced bipartisan legislation that will enact sanctions on Cambodian officials responsible for “undermining democracy” in the Kingdom, government officials and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party on Sunday said they regarded the potential action as the “violation of independence and sovereignty