MARKET vendors at a Kampong Cham border crossing claim corrupt Cambodian border police are demanding too much money from Vietnamese customers, forcing them to accept lower prices for their goods.
The vendors have sent an official complaint to Prime Minister Hun Sen demanding an end to the practice, according to Lim Hong Chheang, who said he represents vendors at the Trapeang Phlong border crossing.
The payments “force Vietnamese vendors to buy Cambodian farmers’ produce at lower-than-market prices”, Lim Hong Chheang said.
Border officials demand 50 riels per kilogram of goods that the Vietnamese customers try to bring home, he said. The practice reportedly forces vendors to sell their offerings at a lower price: Dried cassava that might ordinarily fetch a price of 650 riels per kilogram, for example, now brings only 600 riels per kilogram.
“This corruption doesn’t affect just me,” Lim Hong Chheang said.
“It affects all the vendors’ standards of living. This isn’t new, either. It’s happened for a long time. We have enough evidence to file a complaint.”
Lim Hong Chheang also said that border officials were charging truck drivers 130,000 riels (US$31) to cross the border.
But the official in charge of the Trapeang Phlong border checkpoint disputed the allegations.
“I haven’t heard about this issue,” said Oum Thalot, calling the matter a “personal problem” between the vendors and their landlord.
Oum Thalot said he was concerned that the villagers’ complaint had been filed.
Neang Sovath, the provincial coordinator for local rights group Adhoc in Kampong Cham, said he has never received a complaint regarding the matter from the province’s vendors.