Phnom Penh (FN), September 26 – Cambodian consulate in Thailand’s Sa Kaev province has approached and collaborated with Thai police and relevant Thai authorities to secure safe repatriation of 34 Cambodian workers on September 22, 2016, via the international border-crossing of Laem, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a press release today.

In the meantime, the consulate asked that Thailand’s responsible authorities help to uncover the Thai labor brokers and bring them to justice, the press release said.

The intervention by concerned authorities was undertaken in the wake of Thai media reports that Thai police had arrested 34 illegal Cambodian workers who were working in Chiang Mai province as crop pickers. The consulate went down to visit the 34 (not 36 as incorrectly reported) arrested workers (27 adults and 7 children) on September 22, 2016 at the immigration station in Chanthaburi province, said the press release.

It should be recalled that on July 22, 2016, the Cambodian workers came into Thailand via the border crossing of Laem between Cambodia’s Battambang province and Thailand’s Chanthaburi using the daily border crossing permits. On that day, a Thai broker approached and persuaded the workers to go further inside and work in Chiang Mai picking lychee fruits. After working for one month and two weeks, not only didn’t the employer pay them and instead the employer transported them to a deserted place in Thailand’s northern province of Lampoun and then ran away, the press release accounted.

Assisted by Thai villagers, the 34 managed to come to a national road on September 10, 2016 and met Thai police who then arrested them for a while for questioning. Understanding that those workers came into Thailand illegally, police sent them back to Chanthaburi and finally sent them back to Cambodia, the press release said.