living in the ‘Land of Smiles’

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Thailand – 120,000 Cambodian migrants flee Thailand after coup

Via: Coconuts Bangkok
1

More than 120,000 Cambodians have fled Thailand to return home in the past week, fearing a crackdown on migrant workers after last month’s military takeover, an official said on Sunday.

The mass exodus of labourers who play a key role in Thai industries such as seafood and agriculture but often lack official work permits comes amid a junta warning of arrest and deportation for illegal foreign workers.

“They’re returning en masse like a dam collapsing. They’ve never come en masse like this before in our history,” Kor Sam Saroeut, governor of the northwestern province of Banteay Meanchey where the main border crossing is located, told AFP by telephone.

Around 122,000 Cambodian migrants have returned from Thailand in the last week after being transported to the border by Thai military trucks or making their own way, he said late Sunday.

“They said they are scared of being arrested or shot if they run when Thai authorities check their houses,” Saroeut added. “Most of them went to work in Thailand without a work permit.”

But two days later the Thai foreign ministry dismissed “RUMOURS” the army was deporting Cambodian labourers and later Sunday released a new statement citing spokesman Sek Wannamethee as saying: “No crackdown order targeting Cambodian workers had been issued by the NCPO (junta body).”

As a result of the rumours, “Cambodian illegal workers have reported themselves to the Thai authorities for being repatriated voluntarily to Cambodia,” the statement said, adding that Thai immigration officials had provided transport for them. (NOT RUMOR!)

More than 12,000 migrant workers crossed the border into Cambodia on Sunday alone, according to Saroeut, who expects many more to make the journey over the new few days.

Thousands were sheltering from the rain at local Buddhist temples and a market as they waited for transport to their home provinces.

Cambodian authorities have arranged nearly 300 cars and military trucks to ferry workers home from the Aranyaprathet-Poipet border checkpoint but many would have to stay near the site overnight until transport became available, Saroeut said.

At the smaller border checkpoint of Boeung Trakuon, south of Poipet, around 1,000 Cambodian men and women walked across the border with heavy bags and children in tow, said a local journalist.

Sirichan Ngathong, a spokeswoman for Thailand’s army which seized power in a coup on May 22, had said Wednesday the junta viewed illegal migrants as a “threat” and they faced arrest and deportation.

http://bangkok.coconuts.co/2014/06/16/afp-120000-cambodian-migrants-flee-thailand-after-coup

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Personal thought:

I haven’t read anything similar as to whether this is affecting the Lao and Burmese. If the crackdown becomes more widespread, I believe this will have a dire consequence on the Thai economy.

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June 17, 2014 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , ,

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