PHNOM PENH, June 15 (Xinhua) -- An estimated 135,000 Cambodian migrant workers have been deported from or fled Thailand since early this month after the Thailand's new military government rounded up illegal migrant laborers, a senior official said Sunday.
"As of Sunday night, Thai authorities have sent about 135,000 Cambodian workers back to Cambodia," Kousoum Saroeuth, governor of Banteay Meanchey province, where the Cambodia-Thailand International Border Checkpoint is located, told Xinhua over telephone.
He said some 25,000 workers were sent back to Cambodia on Sunday.
"We don't know how many more Cambodian migrant workers will be repatriated from Thailand," he said.
About 300 military trucks and buses are still standing by to bring those workers back to their hometowns "free of charge" as local authorities and charitable organizations have provided them with food and water, the governor said.
Koy Kuong, spokesman for the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said Wednesday that the massive deportation was due to the Thai military coup, which forced factories and enterprises to stop using illegal foreign workers.
Cambodian Minister of Labor Ith Samheng said Friday in Banteay Meanchey province's Poipet City that more than 200,000 Cambodian laborers, including 80,000 legal migrant workers, have been working in Thailand.
He said in order to assist those returnees to find new jobs in Cambodia, the government was preparing a jobs creation blitz to address the influx of laborers.
"If workers do not have skills, the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training will offer them training courses, so they will have opportunities to find new jobs," he said.