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Ongoing Woes for Cambodian Workers in Thailand

Migrant workers work on fishing boats at a pier in Prachuabkhirikhant province, southern Thailand Tuesday, March 4, 2014.
Thailand’s political crisis could create ongoing problems for Cambodian migrant workers, especially night time curfew, a development expert says.

Ya Navuth, executive director of Caram Cambodia, said undocumented Cambodian workers in Thailand may not know about the curfew and could be arrested when they travel.

Thailand’s military took control of the country last month, ousting the prime minister, Yingluck Shinawatra, and her supporters and tightening security.

That means difficulties ahead for both Cambodians and Thais, Ya Navuth said. “Especially undocumented workers who have no knowledge of the issue,” he said. “When they travel at night, they could face arrest.”

An estimated 400,000 Cambodians work in Thailand, either legally or not, and many of them will face financial difficulty in times of political crisis. They could also find it hard to send money home, Ya Navuth told “Hello VOA.”

Ros Serey, councilor general for the Cambodian Embassy in Thailand, recommends that Cambodians in Thailand remain calm, stay in one place and refrain from breaking laws.

Oeun Samorn, a caller to the program, said he had worked in Thailand’s Chachoengsao province. “I had some difficulties and have been very careful when traveling,” he said.

Ya Navuth appealed to Cambodians considering traveling to Thailand for work to delay their plans. He urged the Cambodian Embassy in Thailand to continue to get information to the provinces, where Cambodian laborers work.