Category Archives: Arrest, Detention and Deportation

Malaysian Police arrest Myanmar workers after passport checks

The Myanmar workers in Malaysia are facing increased arrests after having their passports checked in the wake of tightened security due to a string of murder cases.

Hsan Win, chairperson of the Kapong Funeral Service Society, said the arrests coincided with the demand of Myanmar Embassy requesting the Malaysian Labour Ministry to take action against the killings of Myanmar citizens.

Myanmar workers are now facing two dilemmas as they live in fear for getting killed and for getting arrested, he said.

“The situation is calm. But this is not a good sign. We dare not go downtown because we fear for the safety of our lives. If we try to go out, Malaysian police would check our passports and arrest us. They are also making a lot of arrests along the Thai-Malaysian border,” he said.

A large number of Myanmar workers had their passports kept by their employers, hence they found it difficult to go out and avoid arrest because they could not pass passport checks.

On July 8, Myanmar national AungKhin, aka Ko Tony, was found stabbed to death outside his house in Penang. Another man MyoPaing, chairperson of Kuala Lumpur Funeral Service for deceased Myanmar citizens, was killed on the following day.

“The embassy gives no help. We sent a letter to alert about the problem but this did not work out. The killings of Myanmar citizens in Malaysia have not be solved yet,” Hsan Win said.

By: Eleven Myanmar

Migrants told to get permits

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Friday called on all undocumented Cambodians in Thailand to register for a legal work permit at one of that country’s newly opened one-stop service centres.

Thailand’s junta began piloting the latest temporary registration centres at the end of June and has since rolled out additional sites countrywide. At the centres, workers are required to undergo background screenings, health checks and purchase health insurance before applying for a permit.

Neth Serey, Cambodian consul general in Sa Kaeo, was unable to confirm how many Cambodians have so far registered, though NGOs have reported that thousands of migrants have been lining up daily at the busier sites. The Thai Development Research Centre estimated that prior to the recent exodus of more than 250,000 Cambodian migrants, around 900,000 undocumented foreign labourers worked in the country.

For returned migrants looking to get back to Thailand, the ministry’s statement yesterday said passport-issuing offices will be opened at four locations along the border in Poipet, O’Smach, Cham Yeam and Pailin, which are in addition to current offices in Phnom Penh and Battambang.

“We were informed by the Ministry of Labour that the new system will start tomorrow,” said An Bunhak, president of recruitment agency Top Manpower Co Ltd. “We’ll wait to see how the new system works and then inform our provincial offices to start calling the workers.”

Though the Kingdom’s recent, sudden influx of workers has yet to result in an increase in applicants at recruitment agencies, Banteay Meanchey Governor Korsum Saroeurt said many labourers are continuing to try to surreptitiously cross the border, only to find themselves quickly taken back.

According to Saroeurt, 10,723 Cambodians were repatriated from the end of June to last Thursday, and as many as 40 per cent of those migrants had recently crossed only to find themselves immediately caught and repatriated.

“Workers: do not waste your time and money; stop believing brokers. Thailand will not allow the migrants who cross illegally to stay anymore,” he said.

By: Sen David, The Phnom Penh Post

103 border crossers caught in Sa Kaeo

Rangers raided a rented shophouse in the border town of Aranyaprathet in Sa Kaeo province early Tuesday morning and rounded up 103 illegal Cambodian migrant workers, Thairath Online reported.

The workers reportedly said they had illegally sneaked across the border into Thailand after being promised work in Bangkok by a job trafficking ring.

The raid was carried out by members of the 12th Rangers Regiment acting on information that a large number of Cambodian workers had illegally entered the country and had been gathered at a shophouse with two fronts at Song Roi Hong community opposite Rong Klua market in tambon Pa Rai of Aranyaprathet district.

Acting under martial law, the rangers broke into the shophouse about 4am after cutting the locks to open the doors.

They found 103 Cambodians, 64 men and 39 women, jam packed into the locked narrow premises without any  ventilation.

According to Thairath,  the Cambodians said they each paid the illegal job brokers  2,500 baht.  After sneaking across the border they were taken to the shophouse by a Thai man called “Phuyai Sua”, locked in and told  to await transport to Bangkok where they would get jobs.

Of the 103, nine had already obtained a temporary work permit from a one-stop-service centre at Rong Klua market.  The people who were suposed to employ them had not met them, so they went back into Cambodia to wait, because they were not allowed to stay overnight on the Thai side of the border.

Instead of waiting, the nine decided to cross the border with the group of undocumented migrant workers who were rounded up.

The nine would be sent back to the Cambodian immigration office to wait for their potential employers.

The 94 others were to undergo a legal process for illegal entry before being repatriated.

Sa Kaeo provincial police would try to track down  “Phuyai Sua”, who would be charged with human trafficking, the report said.

By: Bangkok Post

Migrant arrests dent labour drive

Authorities have detained 327 Cambodian migrant workers believed to have been lured into the country by trafficking gangs, dealing a blow to the military’s hardline efforts to end the transnational labour trade.

The arrests, made during three separate operations yesterday, came as immigration police released 14 Cambodian workers from a prison in Sa Kaeo after finding they had fallen victim to a passport forgery gang.

The 327 Cambodians arrested yesterday were believed to have been among the tens of thousands who fled Thailand last month amid rumours of a looming military crackdown on illegal workers.

On their way back to Thailand via Sa Kaeo province, some workers were lured by brokers into bypassing a time-consuming process to obtain border passes at Poi Pet border checkpoint in Cambodia, investigators said.

The brokers charged them 2,500 baht per head before leading them through a forest along the border which serves as a secret route to Sa Kaeo, according to a Cambodian woman identified only as Joy.

Joy, who is eight months pregnant, was among 149 Cambodians who were found hiding in a sugarcane plantation during a pre-dawn raid by police and military officers on a home in Sa Kaeo’s Aranyaprathet district.

The officers also arrested a Thai woman named Chuthamat Onsopha, 27, and a 20-year-old Cambodian man who were found in the house.

About 5am yesterday, another group of 61 Cambodians was arrested as they were trying to enter Aranyaprathet district over the Thai-Cambodian Friendship Bridge.

Investigators said they had paid 2,000 baht each to Cambodian brokers for their entry into Thailand.

Around the same time, paramilitary troops arrested 117 Cambodians in a forest in Ban Song Phan Rai in the same district. None had legal travel documents.

Also yesterday, authorities released 14 Cambodians who had been charged with illegal entry after holding them in a Sa Kaeo prison for the past month.

Their release came two days after Thai political activist Veera Somkhwamkid, who served more than three years in jail for espionage, was released from a Cambodian prison. Authorities deny any prisoner exchange deal was made.

According to the junta, Thailand simply wanted to show “sincerity and good will” toward Cambodia by stepping up the probe into the 14 suspects. Sa Kaeo Provincial Court ruled that none of the suspects had any intention to commit wrongdoing.

By: Bangkok Post

Junta to target Cambodian beggars

As Cambodian migrant workers continue spilling back into the country from Thailand, the junta announced yesterday that it will clear out its homeless and destitute in attempts to “address” the ongoing problem of mainly Cambodian beggars roaming the streets.

In the announcement, Yanee Lertkrai, director-general of the Department of Social Development and Welfare, said the effort was part of Thailand’s continued endeavour to regulate its workforce and clamp down on rampant human trafficking.

Yanee claimed that more than 90 per cent of the child beggars in Thailand are Cambodian, and that the military government has made an agreement with Cambodia to deport them.

But government spokesman Phay Siphan and officials from the Ministry of Social Affairs yesterday said they had not heard of such an arrangement and have concerns about the policy’s repercussions.

“These people are used to making a living in Thailand, so of course if they return, it will affect Cambodia, as now they’ll need to find income here,” Siphan said.

The junta’s statement follows a long history of forcible repatriations of Cambodian beggars, including a 2003 order to round them up and use air force planes to fly them as far as possible from the border. But the practice has never worked.

“Using street sweeps and deportations against beggars has been like throwing a boomerang … the Cambodian beggars just come right back to Bangkok within a week or so of being sent out,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director for Human Rights Watch.

For beggars faced with a choice of extreme poverty or being smuggled into Thailand with the assistance of human traffickers, “the considerable income to be made from begging for them outweighs the risks,” Friends International warned.

If Thailand wants to get serious about modifying its ranking this year as one of the worst countries for human trafficking, other rights groups added, it’s going to have to abandon the unsuccessful repatriations, which criminalise the impoverished beggars and side-step the smuggling networks.

“[I]t’s a lot more about politics than actual reform,” said Ou Virak, Cambodian Center for Human Rights chairman.

By: Laignee Barron, The Phnom Penh Post


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