Thais Upset Over Poipet Casino Work

Thai and Cambodian officials have been discussing ways to solve a dispute over the construction of a casino in the border area of Poipet in the northwest.

Nhiek Kim Chhun, second deputy governor of Banteay Mean­chey province, said he led an 18-member Cambodian delegation to Sakeo province in Thai­land last month to discuss the dis­pute.

Thais living across the river are upset about the noise and because construction debris has been spilling over into the river, he said. Thai authorities have asked Cambodia to sign an agreement that states half of the river belongs to Thailand and half belongs to Cambodia.

The agreement also would divide up a small island in the middle of the river, but that was not ag­reed upon by Cambodian authorities. “If I sign it [the agreement], we will lose a small piece of the island that belongs to Cam­bodia,” Nhiek Kim Chhun said.

Nhiek Kim Chhun said Thai authorities also threatened to close the Poipet border, but a Thai embassy official said that proposal would be implemented only as a “last resort.”

“The construction of the casino is affecting land boundaries and that is the problem,” the Thai em­bassy official said. “We want them to sign the agreement to correct the problem.”

The official also said Thai authorities have constructed a barrier so the construction will not affect Thai residents in the area.

An Sum, first deputy governor of Banteay Meanchey, said Cam­bodia has received a letter from Thai officials requesting another meeting. An RCAF official said Wednesday that a small group of RCAF officials are planning to visit the border and speak to Thai officials on Friday.

There are three casinos operating at the Poipet border area and two more are under construction.

Poipet is a much-used border for day traffic between the two countries, and is increasingly being used by tourists.

(Ad­ditional reporting by Gina Chon)



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