By The Nation
The eight raids focused on the popular Talat Rongklue border market in Aranyaprathet district at 7am.
Authorities had received a tip-off that illegal immigrants from Cambodia had sneaked across the border and were hiding in areas near the market waiting for human smuggling networks to transport them to other provinces such as Bangkok, Chon Buri, Samut Prakan, Rayong and Chacheongsao.
The raids were almost simultaneous, apprehending 277 Cambodians, 177 of whom were men staying at rented rooms in the area.
The detainees were escorted to a shelter in the district where police will record their details before deporting them.
Pol Colonel Benjapon Rodsawat, Sa Kaew’s deputy immigration police commander, said most of the Cambodians did not have travel documents while others had documents but still entered Thailand illegally.
“They are victims of human smuggling gangs which operate in the Poi Pet area of Cambodia. There are about 10 gangs and each gang has about 10 members,” he said.
He added that the gangs usually waited for people at a traffic roundabout that serves as a bus terminal in Poi Pet, promising Cambodians that for a Bt2,000 to Bt2,500 fee, they could bring them to work in Thailand.
For those who have travel documents, traffickers are known to trick them by saying that they would have to pay Bt1,500 to pass legally through Sa Kaew while they would only have to pay Bt500 to the traffickers.
Thai immigration has already asked its Cambodian counterpart to help prevent the illegal entry of Cambodians into Thailand, Benjaporn said.
Another 500 Cambodians are waiting to be deported after being detained on Wednesday during the raids in the province.