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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Extortion at the border

Extortion at the border

Dear Editor,

The boys in brown are still at it at the Cham Yeam, Koh Kong border crossing.

Possibly the most notorious bunch at any of the Thailand-Cambodia border crossings, these immigration officials will lock a foreign traveller in their visa-on-arrival office if he or she doesn’t agree quickly enough to their 1,200 to 1,400 Thai baht ($40 to $47) fee for a standard Cambodia tourist visa.

This despite the fact that Royal Government of Cambodia official policy has the fee set at $20. Intimidation is their game.

But let’s not forget the other people who get harassed by these sharks.

I was one of a party of four that crossed the border at Cham Yeam on December 22.

We were trying to bring a Cambodian to hospital in Chanthaburi province to be treated for frequent seizures that Cambodian doctors had not been able to control.

She had an official, brand-new Cambodian passport for the trip. But the immigration boys couldn’t have cared less that she was in a nauseated, near-unconscious state when they began their intimidation act.

They said that although she was 24 years old and in the company of responsible people, she was probably going to be sold into the sex trade.

To prevent this, they said, she must pay a 30,000-riel fee and make a sworn, signed and thumbprinted statement that she would not sell herself into the sex trade.

Come on, guys, can you say “human-rights violation”?

This is just one example of the foolishness these officials engage in daily in their attempts to charge illegal fees to Cambodian citizens.

Despite her obvious poor state of health, they then made her wait in the heat for an hour for their ad-lib paperwork procedure.

It would certainly be nice for Cambodians and foreigners alike if the government finally put a stop to the dishonesty and intimidating behaviour at the Cham Yeam, Koh Kong border crossing.

One only has to Google this crossing to see that Cambodian tourism suffers tremendously because of these clowns.
 
Matt Jacobson
Koh Kong

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