BORDER authorities yesterday said they had begun enforcing a ban on the importation of pigs from Vietnam and Thailand immediately after it was ordered by Prime Minister Hun Sen, with an official at one checkpoint reporting that hundreds of kilogrammes of pork had already been confiscated and burned.
Speaking during a graduation ceremony on Wednesday, Hun Sen ordered provincial authorities to suspend the importation of pigs from Vietnam and Thailand in response to an outbreak of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome, also known as blue-ear, which he said had spread to Cambodia in May and could threaten industry and public health.
Heng Bunhor, director of the Banteay Meanchey provincial Agriculture Department, said yesterday that officials had confiscated 750 kilogrammes of Thai pork that importers had attempted to smuggle through a checkpoint on Wednesday night.
“We did not check if the pork had diseases, but we just followed the prime minister’s order, so we must burn it,” he said.
He added that the importers had been informed of the ban and warned that they would be fined if they attempted any further violations.
He said the government had given no indication of when the ban would be lifted.
Khun Bophann, police chief at the Bavet international border checkpoint in Svay Rieng province, said yesterday that he had not yet received official government notification of the ban, but that he had held an “urgent meeting” to discuss its implementation immediately after seeing a television broadcast of Hun Sen’s speech on Wednesday.
He said that increased night patrols by police and other local officials had been introduced along the province’s border with Vietnam.
“We will deploy five or six mixed forces [stationed] every 200 metres,” he said.
Oum Sinath, the governor of Kampong Trach district in Kampot province, said he had asked five animal health officials to be stationed at strategic points along the province’s border with Vietnam.
He said authorities had also deployed “navy forces” to prevent pigs from being shipped in from Vietnam.
Kao Phal, director of the Animal Health and Production Department at the Ministry of Agriculture, said he was too busy to comment yesterday.
Thai and Vietnamese agriculture officials could not be reached for comment.