Ten Cambodians were killed and 20 injured in two high-speed police chases in Thailand over the weekend, officials said yesterday.
Pich Vanna, deputy chief of the Cambodian-Thai border relations office, said the victims had crossed the border illegally for work.
During the first accident in Chonburi province on Saturday night, an exhausted driver sped from police, he said.
“The driver was sleepy and [his van] smashed into a tree, killing four people – two men and two women,” Pich Vanna said.
On Sunday night, police were chasing a van full of Cambodian and Thai workers when it crashed in Chachoengsao province, he said.
“Their van crashed while they tried to avoid Thai police. In this second accident, there were six people who died – four men and two women.”
About 20 people were sent to hospital and officials were preparing yesterday to send bodies back to Cambodia, Pich Vanna said.
Ouk Keo Ratanak, a spokesman at Banteay Meanchey provincial hall, said Thai officials were still trying to identify all the workers, but believed most had been cheated by brokers.
“Most of the illegal workers always leave to Thailand at night time, that’s why they face dangers like this,” he said.
Three Cambodian men were killed in a road accident in the same province on April 23, he added.
Sem Chausok, a human rights monitor at Licadho, said migrant workers who crossed illegally into Thailand often found themselves in dangerous situations.
“They don’t have a company to help them, or legal documents . . . and are always scared of and avoid Thai police officials,” he said, adding that many were also abused by brokers.
An International Labour Organization spokesman said Cambodia’s labour market was increasing by 300,000 people every year and “irregular migration” was still the cheapest, simplest and fastest option for crossing the border for work.