Poipet Cart-Pullers Protest Increase in Unofficial Fees

More than 100 handcart-pullers who transport goods back and forth across the Cambodian-Thai border protested in Poipet City on Sunday, claiming that customs officials had recently doubled the unofficial fees they demand, local officials said.

Sem Makara, deputy border police chief at the Poipet International Checkpoint, said the issue arose last week, when customs officials relocated to a new checkpoint farther away from the border, near Ra Market, and abruptly raised the amount of money they demanded from the cart-pullers.

“The cart-pullers wanted the customs officers to do it like before,” he said. The roughly three-hour protest ended after city governor Ngor Mengchruon negotiated an agreement that would ensure that the customs officials do not demand any fees from the cart-pullers themselves, but instead tax the businessmen or companies paying to move the goods across the border.

“We asked the border customs officers to stop taking the money from the cart-pullers, who earn money for their families,” Mr. Mengchruon said.

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