Seven Cambodian migrant workers were killed Friday when the pickup truck they were traveling in crashed in Thailand, about 200 km west of Pailin province, the Associated Press reported.
The truck careened off the road and smashed into a tree in Chonburi province, killing five instantly. Two more died in hospital and a further seven Cambodians on board were injured. The vehicle was carrying some 20 passengers, AP reported.
Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Koy Kuong confirmed that Cambodians had died in the accident, and said Cambodia’s embassy in Thailand was working with authorities there to deal with the dead and injured.
“We have contacted the victims’ families in Cambodia. We seek compensation for the dead and the wounded,” Mr. Kuong said via email.
Thai police are searching for the driver, who survived the crash and fled the scene, the AP report said.
“We are trying to find the driver to figure out the cause of the accident,” Colonel Somneuk Haanta told AP.
Earlier this month, nine Cambodians returning home for the Khmer New Year holiday were killed when the minivan they were traveling in crashed into a tree in Chanthaburi province, about 150 km southeast of Friday’s fatal accident.
Chan Soveth, a senior investigator for local rights group Adhoc, said yesterday that numbers of migrant workers to Thailand were increasing and that those going there illegally were at considerably greater risk.
“The Cambodian people, more and more, are leaving their village to go and work in Thailand as farmers or in construction and other industries,” Mr. Soveth said, adding that better wages were the primary lure.
“Because Thailand and Cambodia are friendly with each other, Cambodians think it is safe to go to work illegally but when something happens like a crash, there is nothing to force the Thai police to deal with the case properly if the workers are illegal,” he said.
blomberg@cambodiadaily.com
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