News / Asia

Thousands of Cambodian Workers Flee Thailand

Officials in Phnom Penh say thousands of Cambodian workers have fled Thailand since the military coup in Bangkok, and more people are crossing the border every day.

Workers are crossing over mostly via the border town of Poipet in Banteay Meanchey province. Cambodian officials say some have been forced out while others are fleeing.

Government officials put the number of workers who have left the country at 20,000, but human rights groups say the number could be double that.

Sum Chankea, a coordinator for the rights group ADHOC, says in an interview with VOA's Khmer service that many of those returning were mistreated in Thailand.

“They sent most of them on June 9, 10, 11 and 12.  We interviewed some of them yesterday. We found that there are middle people who took money from them. Then military did the same and physically abused them as well," said Chankea.

Kong Veasna, who worked in a Thai plastics factory for three years, says the coup is not the only reason he returned home.

“At home I couldn’t earn anything and was in debt. I decided to be a worker in Thailand so that I could pay my debts. The Thai bosses physically abused us. We then we decided to come back home. That’s it," said Veasna.
 
Cambodian authorities are working with the International Organization for Migration to help workers once they get across the border.

Kor Sumsaroeun, governor of Banteay Meanchey, said the workers are being given assistance as they cross the border.

“First, we gave each of them a pack of cooked rice and a bottle of water when they arrived. We also provided them with healthcare service. Second, transportation. We got 30 trucks from OM [Operation World], five trucks from National Police Commissioner, 10 trucks from Engineering Department and five trucks Immigration Police General Department," said Sumsaroeun.
 
Bangkok has also been cracking down on migrant workers from Myanmar, also known as Burma. Workers say Thai security forces have shut down illegal crossing points along that border, stranding many who cross back and forth for work.  

Traditionally, Thailand has been a tempting place for Cambodians to work, especially the rural poor. An estimated 400,000 Cambodians work in Thailand, legally or not, while those from Myanmar are believed to number more than one million. A Thai spokesman recently said illegal workers represent a “threat” to Thailand.

This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Khmer service.

You May Like

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid