Thai duo held for smuggling Cambodian workers

Two Thais were arrested at a checkpoint in Sikhiu district on charges of smuggling 20 Cambodian migrant workers crammed into a van on Saturday morning.

Police manning the checkpoint on Mittraparb Road in Sikhiu district signalled the van to stop, but the driver tried to speed away. Officers blocked the vehicle and finally forced it to stop.

The officers found 20 Cambodian men and women inside the van, along with two Thais: driver Boonchuay Chaichana, 54, and Pramul Ketpathum, 57.

A criminal record check showed that Ms Pramul, a resident of Watthana Nakhon district in Sa Kaeo, had been arrested in connection with smuggling workers in early September and later freed on bail.

During questioning, Mr Boonchuay told police that he had been hired for 20,000 baht to pick up the migrant workers from Soeng Sang district in Nakhon Ratchasima and bring them to the Talad Thai wholesale market in Pathum Thani.

The Cambodians had entered the country via the Ta Phraya border checkpoint in Sa Kaeo and boarded a vehicle to Soeng Sang to wait for the van, said the driver.

Police charged the two Thais with violating the emergency decree and smuggling foreign nationals into the country. They were being held in police custody at the Sikhiu station pending further legal action.

The 20 Cambodian migrants were to be handed over to immigration police before being deported.