Fees for border permits axed

Fees for border permits axed

The Cambodian government has decided to stop charging its citizens to visit Rong Kluea market in Aranyaprathet district in Sa Kaeo via the Poipet border checkpoint.

A letter from Banteay Meanchey provincial governor Soun Bavor on Wednesday said Deputy Prime Minister Ke Kim Yan had decided to scrap the temporary permits -- which cost 1,000 riel (10 baht) -- to help reduce Cambodians' expenses as they cross the border, according to the Khmer Times.

"Regarding other administrative services to citizens, I asked that officials at headquarters provide them with transparency, fairness and efficiency," he said.

Deputy Banteay Meanchey governors Um Reatrey and Ly Sary said they were unaware of the fees being scrapped.

Poipet immigration police chief Sim Sam Ath said he had received the letter and had discussed it with the Thai side to ensure citizens could cross the border at no charge.

Kim Thann, a Cambodian clothes seller at Rong Kluea market, supported the move which he said would reduce the costs of daily traders as well as those crossing the border to buy goods at the market, some of whom crossed several times a day.

The change should help cut costs and simplify travel.

"The ticket price of 10 baht is just for one time," he said.

"It helps reduce costs if they stop taking this fee because people like me, who go back and forth to take their kids to school a few times every day, can save 30 baht per day," he added.

Aside from buying a temporary permit every time he wanted to enter the market, vendors were also required to have another permit that cost 200 baht. These permits were valid for six months.

Meanwhile, Pol Col Prapansak Prasansuk, chief of Sa Kaeo Immigration Office, said Cambodia's scrapping of the permits had "resulted in a mess" over the past two days at the border as thousands of Cambodians looking to visit the market were not allowed to do so.

He said a joint agreement between Thai and Cambodian authorities says Cambodian people who have no such tickets will not be allowed to enter Thailand, except those who have a border pass and passport.

The Thai immigration office has contacted its Cambodian counterpart and decided to issue free temporary tickets to Cambodians who come to work at the border markets until the Cambodian side makes the policy clear.

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