Thailand repatriates 40,000 illegal migrant workers back to Cambodia: official

Thailand repatriates 40,000 illegal migrant workers back to Cambodia: official

PHNOM PENH, June 13 (Xinhua) -- Thailand has sent an estimated 40,000 illegal Cambodian migrant workers back to Cambodia since early this month, and Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has ordered 150 military trucks to take them from the border to their home provinces, a senior official said Friday.

"We estimate that around 40,000 migrant workers have poured over the border from Thailand since early this month," Ngor Mengchruon, governor of Poipet City, where the Cambodia-Thailand International Border Checkpoint is located, told Xinhua via telephone.

He said local authorities and the Cambodian Red Cross are standing by to assist those returnees and have provided them with food, water and cash to travel back home.

"Moreover, Prime Minister Hun Sen on Thursday afternoon ordered 150 military trucks to transport those migrant workers back to their home provinces," he said.

According to Mengchruon, more migrant workers will be expelled from Thailand in coming days.

On Wednesday, Koy Kuong, spokesman for the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said the massive deportation was due to the Thai military coup, which forced factories and enterprises to stop using illegal migrant workers.

The business establishments had to allow illegal workers to return to their home countries.

He also dismissed news reporting that Thai military had shot Cambodian workers.

The deportation came just weeks after Thailand's army declared martial law and seized control of the government in a coup late last month.