PHNOM PENH, June 20 (Xinhua) -- Cambodian Minister of Labor Ith Samheng said Friday that nearly all illegal Cambodian migrant laborers working in Thailand have returned home in fears of a junta's crackdown on illegal foreign workers.
"I think that nearly all of them have been repatriated from Thailand because, until now, the number of Cambodian laborers who have been sent back from Thailand has remarkably declined," he told reporters.
Major Gen. Pich Vanna, chief of Cambodian-Thai Border Relation Affairs Office, said the Thai junta sent 1,300 illegal Cambodian migrants back home on Friday, bringing the total number of Cambodian laborers deported from or fled Thailand to 226,000 in the last two weeks.
"It's likely that almost all of them have been expelled from Thailand," he told Xinhua over telephone.
The exact number of illegal Cambodian migrant workers in Thailand is unavailable.
A mass exodus of Cambodian migrant workers came after the Thai military regime warned last week that illegal foreign workers could face arrest and deportation.
Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Sar Kheng on Tuesday criticized the Thai junta for deporting Cambodian migrant workers in a rush without any prior notice or discussion with Cambodia and said the junta must be held accountable for all the problems that have arisen.
The junta has denied that it has a policy to crack down on or deport Cambodian migrant workers.