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Border guards told not to turn blind eye

Border guards told not to turn blind eye

The Kingdom’s top immigration official has warned against corrupt border police allowing foreigners to cross into Cambodia illegally.

According to the National Police website, Sok Phal, director of the general department of immigration, warned on Tuesday that such practices would be punished without exception.

“In the past, a border checkpoint police official at Ka’am Samnor [in Kandal province] next to Vietnam was fired, punished and sent to court for allowing foreigners to cross into Cambodia illegally,” he said.

“Meanwhile, officials at other checkpoints along the border [with Thailand, Vietnam, and Laos] were demoted as well.”

Immigration department spokesman Keo Vanthorn said yesterday that in 2015, 13 border officials were punished – all by demotion, except for the one in Kandal – because they took money from foreigners to look the other way.

“If a police official breaks the rule, we will punish that one; if the offence is serious, we will arrest them and send them to court,” he said. “If the offence is light, we just swap their position, demote them or fire them.”

Chan Vannsi, chief of police at the Ka’am Samnor checkpoint, declined to comment.

Men Makara, Kandal coordinator for rights group Adhoc, said procedures seemed less strict for foreigners coming into Cambodia through the Vietnamese border than for Cambodians going out.

“If the officials keep allowing them to cross covertly, I think that is the violation of the territorial integrity of the state,” he said.

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