Cambodian migrant workers get off from a Thai truck upon their arrival from Thailand at a Cambodia-Thai international border gate in Poipet, Cambodia, earlier this month. Pic: AP.

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — Cambodia’s prime minister says at least 250,000 of his countrymen who were migrant workers in Thailand returned home this month under circumstances that initially violated their human rights.

Hun Sen accused Thai authorities of abusing their rights when the exodus began in early June, but said that after complaints from Cambodian authorities, they were treated in a more humane way.

The Cambodians returned home after the military took power in Thailand in late May and announced a crackdown on illegal immigrants and those employing them. The belief spread that all migrant workers, legal and illegal, were at risk of arrest, and rumors circulated that some were beaten or even shot by Thai soldiers.

Both countries are now seeking the migrants’ return to Thailand, which has a shortage of low-wage workers.

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