Rumors of More Border Closures Plague Poipet

Rumors of a border closure between Cambodia and Thailand continue to plague businesses in Poipet, where commerce de­pends on a steady flow of goods between the two countries.

There is no truth to the rumors that the border, which is now open, will close, said the chief of the Poipet checkpoint, Bun Hor.

“There is a rumor spreading in Poipet that the Cambodian side would close the border again and Thai police asked us about this, if it is true or not,” said Bun Hor. “We told them that the Cambo­dian government has no principle to close the border. We have no orders from higher leaders to close it,” he said.

Police even had to make an announcement by loudspeaker that the border remains open for business, he said. People continue to cross the border and trade goods as usual. Thai people cross the border every day to gamble in the casinos and to make business in Cambodia, he said.

That’s not enough comfort for second-hand-shoes seller Nhoem Vicheara. “If the border is closed again I will move to live in Bat­tambang province and plant morning glories,” she said. “I don’t know what the truth is anymore. I am trying to sell all of my shoes before I take a rest,” she added.

The immigration police chief at the Poipet checkpoint said business has not returned to normal since the Jan 29 riots. “We have always heard this rumor…that it would close again. Sometimes we hear that the Thais will shut it and sometimes it’s that the Cambo­dians will shut it.

“However, people from both sides are crossing the border every day. The number of Thai citizens crossing the border is still lower than before.”

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