Prime Minister Hun Sen has issued a decree ordering the elimination of smuggling activities, after a verbal order made earlier this month failed to stop the illegal transport of goods.
“The government has taken measures to crack down on illegal smuggling, but illegal smuggling activities still continue through international checkpoints, bilateral checkpoints and international ports,” the decree, dated Dec 22, states.
The written order to provincial governors, the Ministry of Interior, national police chief, Ministry of Finance and the military police chief says local officials must be directly involved in researching, curbing and cracking down on smuggling that happens in their provinces and cities.
The decree reiterates Hun Sen’s Dec 14 announcement, made during a national seminar on good governance, that police who seize smuggled goods can keep 30 percent of the value as an incentive to remain vigilant.
Local authorities can receive 60 percent of the money from the confiscated goods. The remaining 10 percent will go to a fund for stopping illegal smuggling.
Opposition lawmaker Son Chhay said that ordering local authorities, military police and soldiers to capture smugglers will not work.
“The local officials do not have the skill to catch the illegal smuggling,” he said Tuesday.
Banteay Meanchey Governor Heng Chantha said that since the verbal order by the prime minister, his police have confiscated illegal goods and forced smugglers to pay taxes.
Most smuggled products are housing construction materials, he said.
“Since the order, the smugglers took the illegal [goods] and hid them in the forest,” he said. “Some remain in the warehouse.”
Heng Chantha said he has not shared the money from the illegal goods yet, but if he does receive it, he will use it to renovate roads and provide electricity.