Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Border chief denies illegal charcoal trade claims

Border chief denies illegal charcoal trade claims

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Charcoal transported across the border into Laos from Banteay Meanchey province. FB

Border chief denies illegal charcoal trade claims

The commander of the 807th Border Guard Battalion, Colonel Long Samnang, dismissed reports by local newspapers that allege he allowed subordinates to conspire with charcoal exporters to sell charcoal to Thailand on a daily basis.

Several local media outlets recently reported that hundreds of tonnes of charcoal a week were exported to Thailand through a corridor between border poles Number 28-29 in Tbeng Temple, Banteay Chhmar commune of Banteay Meanchey Province’s Thma Puok district.

The reports claimed the operation ran smoothly through the illegal corridor due to border guards accepting 2,000 riel ($0.50) per bag of charcoal to allow its passage. They said there are dozens of bags per tractor or trailer making the crossing, and that no less than 10 were crossing daily.

“If this activity continues unchecked, Cambodia’s forests will be devastated due to charcoal production for illegal export,” claimed one report.

However, Samnang told The Post that a few days ago there was a group of people from Oddar Meanchey who transported charcoal by trucks through Banteay Meanchey province’s Banteay Chhmar commune for sale in Thailand. They passed through the corridor between border poles 28 and 29 in Tbeng temple, but there was not a large amount of charcoal.

“It was not even close to the hundreds of tonnes or hundreds of thousands of bags that some media outlets are claiming,” Samnang said. “More importantly, none of the border guards accepted money from any of the charcoal traders.”

Samnang said he sent officials to investigate the allegations as soon as they were published. After questioning the officers working the location, it was clear that no cabal of charcoal traders was operating there, and none of his officers were involved in any conspiracy.

“It is not a large commercial group of traders, but residents of Banteay Ampil district’s Kokmon village, who transported the charcoal. They were transporting three trucks of charcoal and made a stop at Tbeng temple in Banteay Chhmar commune – before selling the charcoal to Thai people in a border village of Buriram province province’s Lahan Sai district,” he said.

He reminded all of his subordinates along the Thai border to block the traffic of all kinds of goods through the corridor and to educate the public about the need to bring all goods to regional or international border checkpoints to avoid these kinds of accusations.

A charcoal trader who identified herself only as Sinuon in Thma Puok district’s Kouk Romiet commune told The Post that since the Covid-19 outbreak, all border crossings have been closed, so she has stopped purchasing charcoal from the people who run the kilns that produce it.

“I used to export a few tonnes of charcoal at a time through the Boeung Trakoun border crossing to sell in Thailand, but as it’s not reopened, I stopped this business because I did not have enough capital to sustain myself through the border closures,” she said.

Sinuon said she previously purchased charcoal at a cost of 500 to 600 riel per kilogramme, and could sell the same weight to Thais for between 1,000 and 1,300 riel.


  • Wing Bank opens new branch in front of Orkide The Royal along Street 2004

    Wing Bank celebrates first anniversary as commercial bank with launch of brand-new branch. One year since officially launching with a commercial banking licence, Wing Bank on March 14 launched a new branch in front of Orkide The Royal along Street 2004. The launch was presided over by

  • Girl from Stung Meanchey dump now college grad living in Australia

    After finishing her foundational studies at Trinity College and earning a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Melbourne in 2022, Ron Sophy, a girl who once lived at the Stung Meanchey garbage dump and scavenged for things to sell, is now working at a private

  • Ministry using ChatGPT AI to ‘ease workload’; Khmer version planned

    The Digital Government Committee is planning to make a Khmer language version of popular artificial intelligence (AI) technology ChatGPT available to the public in the near future, following extensive testing. On March 9, the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications revealed that it has been using the

  • Wat Phnom hornbills attract tourists, locals

    Thanks to the arrival of a friendly flock of great hornbills, Hour Rithy, a former aviculturist – or raiser of birds – in Kratie province turned Phnom Penh tuk tuk driver, has seen a partial return to his former profession. He has become something of a guide

  • Ministry orders all schools, public and private, to close for SEA Games

    From April 20 to May 18, all public and private educational institutions will be closed to maintain order and support Cambodia's hosting of the 32nd SEA Games and 12th ASEAN Para Games, said a directive from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport. Cambodia will host the

  • Almost 9K tourists see equinox sunrise at Angkor Wat

    Nearly 9,000 visitors – including 2,226 international tourists – gathered at Angkor Wat on March 21 to view the spring equinox sunrise, according to a senior official of the Siem Reap provinical tourism department. Ngov Seng Kak, director of the department, said a total of 8,726 people visited Angkor Wat to