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Border brouhaha: Cart-pullers not placated by proposal

Cart-pullers who transport goods across the Thai-Cambodia border are dissatisfied with attempts to placate them after a protest this weekend over new customs taxes.

The Poipet town cart-pullers demonstrated on Sunday against new inspections and unofficial fees levied since carts were re-routed through Rachas Market, 500 metres from the checkpoint.

Chhuon Hai, head of the customs and excise office at the Poipet International Checkpoint, said that while the cart-pullers claim to be transporting household goods, many actually work for businesses trying to avoid taxes by breaking large shipments into small cart loads.

If the workers can prove their “real owner” is not averting customs, the fees will be reduced, he said.

Cart-pullers, meanwhile, say they were moved further from the border so authorities could impose higher unofficial fees.

“If all the cart-pullers are dissatisfied with [the new arrangements], we will arrange another protest,” said Mao Kosal, 47, one of the cart-pullers.

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