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Villagers protest ‘tolls’

Villagers protest ‘tolls’

A STRING of illegal checkpoints manned by area police has become a serious problem for nearly 1,000 families in Banteay Meanchey province, said residents of Thmor Pouk district.

Local representative Van Savy said that seven illegal checkpoints were operating along the 15 kilometres of road passing through the district.

“Each checkpoint will demand five or six thousand riels from anyone transporting firewood or charcoal,” he said, adding that the “tolls” were especially tough on the area’s mostly poor residents.

Soum Chankea, a provincial coordinator for local rights group Adhoc, said that the officers who ran the checkpoints were enriching themselves at the expense of the public good and that they should be fired.

“These men aren’t confiscating illegal goods or stopping crimes. They only extort from the people transporting what little they have to sell at the market in order to put money in their pockets,” he said.

Deputy district Governor Ham Sam Ang said that she was unaware of any illegal checkpoints in her district.

“As far as I know, there are only the two legal checkpoints in my district, but I will take measures to reassess the situation,” she said.

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