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Govt to address Poipet crossing corruption

GOVERNMENT officials said Tuesday that they were planning a crackdown on corruption and illegal taxing at the Poipet border crossing, a pledge that came one day after Prime Minister Hun Sen expressed concern about corruption at the key checkpoint.

Koy Soum Saroeurth, a secretary of state at the Ministry of Tourism, said officials would investigate allegations that cart-pullers were being unfairly charged for crossing the border and that bogus policemen were setting up fake toll booths.

“We must clear these bad acts completely,” Koy Soum Saroeurth said after an inter-ministry meeting Tuesday.

Banteay Meanchey deputy Governor Sar Chamrong said bureaucracy at the checkpoint should be streamlined to ensure that the crackdown will be effective.

“We need to reduce checking by the authorities, reduce their checkpoints, meaning [people who cross the border] have only one joint checkpoint,” Sar Chamrong said.

The province’s police chief, Hun Hean, said his officers would work to instil order at the crossing.

“We will start a cart-pullers association to keep order, so that they will be easy to control,” Hun Hean said.

On Monday, Hun Sen demanded that allegations of illegal taxing be addressed immediately.

“The act of forcibly taking money from the residents is a corrupt act,” the premier said.

His concerns prompted Poipet Governor Try Narin to convene yesterday’s meeting.

“Samdech is upset about the payments, and he says it is illegal,” Try Narin said Monday. “So whatever [Hun Sen] says, I agree.”

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