Cart pullers force Thai fee backdown

Source: Khmer Times

The busy border area when cart pullers protested. Supplied

About 30 cart pullers at the Poipet International Border Checkpoint staged an hour-long protest yesterday demanding that Thai customs officials remove transit fees that have been in effect for about one month.
Banteay Meanchey provincial Adhoc coordinator Soum Chankea said the protest on the Cambodia-Thailand Friendship Bridge started when Thai border officials demanded the fees.
“The protest has just finished,” he said.
Or Mouy Chheng, one of those who took part, said it was not a protest, but rather a debate with Thai customs about why they charged the fees.
“The fee that used to be exempt for us was raised to between 100 and 200 baht [$3 to $6] and was not acceptable for us,” he said.
“So what we had to do was to go and negotiate with the Thai custom officials at the checkpoint.”
Another cart puller, Bun Ousa, said the protest lasted about an hour and finished after the Thai customs decided to back down over the fees, saying they were not aware of the charge, he said.
“We protested from about 8:30am to about 9:30am. When we went there the Thai customs said they were not aware about the fee charged against the cart pullers,” he said.
“When our pullers told them there is a Thai customs official named Chev Si demanding the fees, they told them that they could not find this name in their system.
“He has probably fled,” Mr. Ousa said.
Mr. Ousa said the fee had been charged for the past month. He was told it was for invoicing.
He asked if it was legal and they told him it was.
The border gate was back to normal after the Thais decided to remove the fee at about 9.30am, he added.
The border crossing is one of the busiest between Thailand and Cambodia.

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