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Kingdom’s borders on guard amid intensified crackdown

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Thai authorities inspect seized mortar tubes and ammunition smuggled from Cambodia last year. Photo supplied

Kingdom’s borders on guard amid intensified crackdown

The Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) has cracked down on more than 4,000 transnational crimes along the Kingdom’s land borders with neighbouring countries during the first nine months of the year, a senior Defence Ministry official said.

Ministry of Defence spokesperson Chhum Socheath said: “During the first nine months of this year, the RCAF has cracked down on 4,233 transnational crimes.

“Of these, 2,054 cases were intercepted along the Cambodia-Thai border, 1,171 along the Cambodia-Laos border, and 1,008 at the borders with Vietnam.

“Most of the intercepted crimes are ‘normal’ ones such as illegal crossings and drug trafficking. There hasn’t been any arms sale or major cases. It has been mostly people crossing illegally to log or work and drug trafficking cases.”

Socheath said the RCAF continues to fortify national defence in all sectors along the borders through measures such as increasing regular patrols and improving situation management.

He also said it has intensified cooperation with neighbouring countries’ forces to prevent and curtail transnational crimes.

“Neighbouring countries must work together to prevent crimes from happening. Nobody can do that alone. We have established bilateral measures for all the Kingdom’s borders with Thailand Laos and Vietnam,” Socheath said.

He noted that his personnel have been in close contact with the authorities from the other countries.

The RCAF, Socheath said, continuously cooperates with neighbouring countries to solve existing problems to maintain a peaceful and safe situation along the borders.

Rights body Adhoc’s spokesperson Soeung Senkarona said transnational crimes in the Kingdom keep increasing and that more people disobey the law despite the authorities having implemented sound regulations along the borders.

“Though we heard about the crackdown involving 4,000 cases, we can still see drug crimes constantly happen throughout the Kingdom,” he said.

Earlier in April, Interior Minister Sar Kheng ordered the authorities to investigate the roots of arms smuggling from Cambodia to other countries, especially Thailand, and arrest the masterminds.

June and July last year saw a number of arrests involving Thai and Cambodian nationals for smuggling weapons between the two countries.

Among those arrested were a Thai police lieutenant, and a first lieutenant at the Ministry of Interior who is a relative by marriage of both Defence Minister Tea Banh and former Koh Kong Provincial Governor Bun Leut.

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