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Thai border guards testing for malaria

Thai border guards testing for malaria

LOCAL traders making day-trips into Thailand are coming under increased scrutiny, with a particular increase in medical checks - including blood tests - being applied by Thai officials, according to border guards.

Kim Sothy, an immigration official posted at the Cham Yeam international border crossing in Koh Kong province, told the Post that the new tests showed that Thai officials were "looking down on Cambodians".

He said that there had been no advance warnings of the new tests, which had put off local traders from doing business in Thai markets across the border.

"Three people were forced to do blood tests, and 30 minutes later Thai physicians come to apologise to us," he said, adding that the physicians had been told to give at least three days' advance warning to make it easier to inform local people.  

Koh Kong Governor Yuth Puthong said the blood tests were unexpected, but that Thai authorities were screening border commuters for infectious diseases.

"There's no problem because the Thai physicians are testing blood to find malaria. But our people didn't know, so it made them afraid," he said. "If they tell us in advance, we will cooperate and work with them."

Suon Sovannarith of Legal Support for Children and Women, an NGO working with migrant workers in Thailand, said the new measures sounded unusual but had not heard confirmations of a new crackdown on infectious diseases. 

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