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New Thai rules limit border crossings

New Thai rules limit border crossings

CAMBODIAN carts must be pulled by Thai motorbikes once they cross over into Thailand via the O’Smach international border gate in Oddar Meanchey province, as part of an ongoing crackdown on cross-border traffic, officials said yesterday.

Wat Paranin, the Cambodian chief of the border gate, said the new restrictions came in response to Thai protests that briefly shut down the crossing last week. As a result of the protests, Cambodian-registered motorbikes are banned from driving on the Thai side.

“Now the Thai authorities are strict to ban Cambodian motorbikes entering Thailand since the Thais protested last week,” Wat Paranin said. “Cambodians can’t ride their bicycles into Thailand, except ones registered and permitted by the Thai authorities.”

He said that until the protests last Wednesday, Cambodians had been able to freely cross the border to buy food and other goods at Thai markets.

Chan Tha, a villager living close to the border gate, which abuts Thailand’s Surin province, said he used to be able to drive his wife all the way to the Thai markets. Now he has to stop at the border and let her take a Thai motor taxi the rest of the way.

“My wife spends 5,000 riels [US$1.19] for a Thai motor taxi driver to go both ways,” he said. “Their new policy is causing us more difficulties.”