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Fruit vendors charged after migrant workers allege assault

Fruit vendors charged after migrant workers allege assault

Two fruit vendors in Pathum Thani have been arrested after Cambodian migrant workers complained to their embassy of abuse.

Fruit shop owners Maruay Srijakkra, 37, and Meena Thepcharoen, 44, were arrested on Monday afternoon, after the Cambodian Embassy’s labour advisers led Thai police and related officials to the Aiyara Market in Tambon Khlong Neung, Khlong Luang district.

Cambodian labour advisor Hoeurn Hung said the embassy received a complaint from Cambodian migrant workers Chantntha Toy, 40, and Resksmey Saroeun, 29, that they were assaulted and their passports torn up by the Thai employers. The embassy contacted Thai authorities to investigate.

Officials were told by five male migrant workers at the fruit shop that they were required to do tasks that were not specified in their work permits and were assaulted if they failed to meet the employers’ expectation.

Toy said that she and husband had worked as mango selectors at the fruit shop since April 2017, but the male boss later ordered her to instead peel prawns. When she was unable to do that by hand, the boss hit her on the head with a metal bar before her husband intervened to help her. She was later sent to help out at the construction site for the boss’ house, she said.

Pathum Thani police chief Pol Maj-General Surapong Thanomjit said that police, provincial labour and employment officials, as well as those from the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security were investigating the case.

Surapong said Maruay and Meena were hit initial charges of allegedly hiring and harboring migrant workers without proper permission, while an assault charge could be filed depending on the result of a physical examination of the workers.

Police also would check if the rescued workers had entered Thailand legally.

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