Return home is not without problems as fear drives Cambodian workers to leave Thailand

The number of Cambodian workers returning home under pressure from Thailand is approaching 200,000, and the returnees are making disturbing allegations about their treatment by Thai authorities.

Banteay Meanchey province governor Kor Samsarouet said Tuesday some 190,000 Cambodians workers have returned home this month, after the Thai military takeover on May 22. Most returnees passed through the border checkpoint at Poipet.

While rumors of beatings and even killings by the Thai military have not been confirmed, several refugees have told of being extorted by soldiers or having relatives taken away at gunpoint, with their whereabouts still unknown.

Hundreds of thousands of foreign workers, mostly from the poorer neighboring countries of Cambodia and Myanmar, fill low-paying jobs in industry and services shunned by Thais.