Reopening of Thai Border Post Alarms Official

Moeung Sonn, president of the National Association of Tourist En­terprise, on Monday urged the government to make public more information about the possible re­opening of the border crossing at the Preah Vihear temple.

The border crossing was closed in December 2001, following a dispute between the Thai and Cam­bo­­dian governments over an al­leged case of water pollution. It is scheduled to reopen on Satur­day.

“We want the government to keep the border closed, as it is good for the government’s policy of developing the road to Preah Vi­hear, and for people living along the roadside,” Moeung Sonn said at a news conference.

A steady stream of tourists currently flows into Preah Vihear. Visitors who spend two or three days at Angkor Wat often continue on to Preah Vihear, Moeung Sonn said. These tourists bring much-needed dollars with them, he said.  “Tourism is the main way to reduce the poverty of the people living along the road to the temple,” he said.

Moeung Sonn is running as the Sam Rainsy Party’s top listed par­liamentary candidate in Kom­pong Chhnang province.

Increased access to broadcast media could also play a significant role in developing the impoverished area, Moeung Sonn said.

“Radio and television promote the spirit of love for society in Khmer people. Telecom­muni­cations networks are also vital to alleviate social issues and for all fields of development—we badly need them,” he said.

Preah Vihear province’s second deputy governor, Long So­vann, said the number of Thai citizens visiting Preah Vihear has risen lately, but that tourism there is limited by the current ticket system, in which both Thai and Cambodian governments charge for entry to the temple.

In order to cross the border, Thai visitors must buy a ticket issued by the Thai government. They then need to purchase anoth­er, Cambodia-issued ticket to enter the temple.

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