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Thai junta vows to arrest, deport illegal migrant workers

Published on Jun 11, 2014 7:17 PM

BANGKOK (AFP) - Thailand's junta threatened on Wednesday to arrest and deport all illegal foreign workers, as border officials reported an exodus of Cambodian migrants following last month's military takeover.

Labourers from neighbouring Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar have played a key role in Thai industries such as seafood, agriculture and construction, but they often lack proper work permits.

From now on any illegal migrant workers found in Thailand "will be arrested and deported", Thai army spokesman Sirichan Ngathong said. "We see illegal workers as a threat because there were a lot of them and no clear measures to handle them, which could lead to social problems," she said.

Since the May 22 coup, at least 10,000 Cambodian workers have crossed back, according to Mr Neth Serey, an official at the Cambodian consulate in the Thai border province of Sa Kaeo.

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