Case of COVID positive migrant workers smuggled from Thailand raises questions on scale of illegal border crossing

A Cambodian family – with at least one COVID positive family member – were yesterday picked up after crossing the Thai border illegally into Cambodia.

The family – a couple and their three young sons and daughters – had suspected that at least one member of their group had COVID-19.

Desperate to return to the relative safety of Cambodia, they decided to circumvent normal border controls and with that the COVID testing and quarantine that is required for all incoming travellers to Cambodia.

To achieve a clandestine crossing, they engaged the services of 2 Thai people smugglers to enable them to cross illegally.

The people smugglers, for a fee, took them across a isolated and unguarded crossing point in a forested area of the Cambodia – Thai border and they successfully crossed into Banteay Meanchey Province.

However, they were arrested at 10:00 AM on July 25, 2021 in front of Star Golf, Samaki Meanchey Village, Sangkat Poipet, Poipet City, Banteay Meanchey Province.

Upon questioning, the family – who are traders in Rong Klue Market, Aranya District, Sa Kaeo Province, Thailand – revealed that they have used this illegal route to cross the border ‘many times’.

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