Phnom Penh: More than 250,000 Cambodian migrant workers, mostly undocumented, have fled Thailand fearing the military junta`s crackdown on illegal foreign workers, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said Thursday.
"Uptill now, over 250,000 Cambodians have crossed the border from Thailand back to Cambodia," Xinhua quoted Hun as saying.
However, the prime minister did not blame the Thai junta for the return of Cambodian migrant workers.
Instead, he said it would be an opportunity to turn the situation of the workers from "illegal" to a "legal" status in the future.
Hun said that Thailand`s army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha, head of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), wrote a letter June 18 to him and explained that Thailand has no intention to use force or to issue any order to deport migrant workers from the country, but to collect the lists of both illegal and legal foreign workers in all companies in Thailand.
A mass exodus of Cambodian migrant workers started after rumours early this month that the Thai junta would arrest and deport illegal foreign workers.
During the mass exodus of Cambodian workers, Hun said the Thai authorities had arrested 13 Cambodian migrant workers, who were accused of using fraudulent work documents.
"Through the Thai ambassador to Cambodia, I would like to ask Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha, that if possible, to drop all charges against them," he said, adding that the detained workers had asked a ringleader to do work permits for them, but the ringleader used fake stamps on their work documents.