Thai officials at Sa Kaeo detained 54 Cambodian migrants being smuggled into Thailand on Thursday, local officials told Thai Enquirer.
It is believed that they were being lured to Thailand by a broker, who had told them that there would be job opportunities when crossing the border.
They could not travel in legally since all border crossings are closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The 54 Cambodians had to pay brokers a commission fee of 3,000THB each.
“So far, it seems that they have been victims of a scam by their fellow Cambodians,” said Pantip Yakaew, chief of the Immigration office at Sa Kaeo province.
“If that is the case, we will have to coordinate and send them back safely, but investigations are still underway.” he told Thai Enquirer.
If further investigations reveal that there are other illegal cases involved, the 54 Cambodians will have to be arrested by the Immigration office at Sa Kaeo, who will then coordinate with Cambodian officials to carry out the legal proceedings.
Concerns at the border
Meanwhile, the government will order the closure of the Thai-Cambodian Friendship Bridge from the June 1 to the 7, according to Thai PBS.
Protests are expected on the Cambodian side because of government policy which forbids Cambodians from entering Thailand. Thai goods and supplies are still allowed to cross over to the Cambodian side.