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Police rescue stranded Cambodians

75 ADULTS, SIX KIDS LURED TO BUILD A RESORT LEFT ABANDONED ON ISLAND

SEVENTY-FIVE Cambodian workers and six children marooned for 10 days after being lured to build a resort on Koh Mook in Trang's Kantang district were rescued on Sunday evening.

Meanwhile, Employment Department chief Sumet Mahosot yesterday said 444,097 migrant workers and 48,541 accompanying persons had registered at the 34 "one-stop" service centres nationwide and as a result the scheme would be expanded to 53 provinces and the operation time extended until next March 31.

Sunday's rescue mission by Trang marine police and soldiers from the Phraya Ratsadanu Pradit Camp began after the workers asked local villagers to call the authorities so they could return to Cambodia.

There were 109 Cambodians in total but 27 workers had been moved to work in Yan Ta Khao district.

The police investigation found that the workers had obtained legal documents from Sa Kaew authorities but were taken to the island by their employer, who collected them from Sa Kaew's Rong Kleu Market area.

A Cambodian worker said they had been promised construction jobs in Bangkok.

He said that when several workers resisted, the employer seized their passports and work documents and threatened to have them arrested.

They had been on the island for 10 days without jobs, money or food, with resort workers and villagers helping them as much as they could. He said that fearing abandonment and starving to death, the workers asked villagers to call for help. Police are keeping the workers - who can stay in the country until September 23 - in Muang Kantang municipality while they investigate.

Their employer, Pran Rakmai, 43, has presented himself to police.

Pran insisted he had no intention of illegally detaining them or becoming involved in human trafficking. He said he had spent Bt700,000 on bringing them to the island and they had no jobs because he had to negotiate with the resort owner over the construction price.

Some workers might have misunderstood what they would be doing, he said, and he kept some passports and documents because he didn't have time to fill out information before they boarded the boat to the island.

Police yesterday summoned the resort owner to provide information.


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