One Thai Border Issue Resolved, Another Roils

The border crossing at Preah Vi­hear temple was reopened Wed­nes­day morning following a meeting between Cambodian and Thai of­ficials, though new problems ap­pear to have surfaced at another Thai-Cambodian crossing, authorities said.

Long Sovann, deputy governor of Preah Vihear province, said the bor­­der reopening proceeded without incident.

“Everything is going ahead,” Long Sovann said. “The gate was un­­­locked Wednesday morning, and people on both sides can cross.”

The Preah Vihear border crossing closed in mid-May amid rising tensions over a build-up of Thai soldiers on neutral land near the temple. The troops have since with­­drawn.

Wednesday’s border negotiations were carried out in front of about 80 people, including Thai and Cam­bodian officials and re­port­ers.

Even as the situation at one Thai-Cambodian border crossing was returning to normal, however, some Thai officials have called on their prime minister to cancel a bor­­der pass agreement with Cam­bodia, according to a report in Wed­­nesday’s Bangkok Post newspaper.

Since the agreement was signed last year, an influx of Cambodians have entered Thailand using fake pas­ses or pretending to be tourists, ac­cording to a Thai police officer quoted in the news report.

Under an agreement signed last year, Cambodians can buy a border pass that allows them to travel no further than Thailand’s Prachin Bu­ri province for no more than seven days at a time.

Poipet checkpoint immigration po­­lice Chief Pich Saran acknowledged that many Cambodian workers have been using the passes to travel deeper into Thailand to find better jobs.

“They went up to Bangkok,” Pich Saran said. “This is a problem, but it is hard to control.”

In response, Thai authorities have stepped up their checks on Cam­­bodians both at the border and deeper inside the country, said Mao Borei, Poipet passport detector inspector.

The border pass agreement is set to expire in November, according to the Bangkok Post.


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