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Svay Rieng pig farmers report officials collect unlawful taxes

PIG farmers in Svay Rieng province have accused local officials of imposing border and customs fees that they say were abolished five years ago.

Neang Chantha, president of the Svay Rieng Pig Farmers Community, which filed a formal complaint with the provincial agriculture department on Wednesday, said that border and customs officials had been charging illegal taxes on 100 of the community’s members who routinely travel along National Road 1 into Phnom Penh.

“They charge us different taxes. Customs officers take 60,000 riels (US$14) per van, and the tax officers take 4,000 riels ($1) per pig when we cross the border into Phnom Penh,” he said.

He added that pig farmers had repeatedly brought the issue to the attention of the provincial agriculture department, but that no action had been taken.

Ros Chhay, Svay Rieng district governor, said no one had complained to him about the fees, but confirmed on Sunday that there was no government regulation calling for taxes to be levied on local farmers.

He added that the people collecting the taxes were probably frauds posing as officials.

Neak Sari, the chief tax official in Svay Rieng, could not be reached for comment on Sunday.

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