Waste Dumpers Now Stuck in No Man’s Land

A group of Vietnamese truck drivers caught dumping expired goods in an undemarcated area along their country’s border with Cambodia have been left stranded between the two nations, a border official said on Monday.

The six men were caught emptying their container trucks in the undemarcated area, or “white zone,” near the Trapaing Phlong International Checkpoint in Tbong Khmum province on Wednesday night, said Thann Kimsorn, an Interior Ministry bureau chief stationed at the border.

“On the evening of the 27th, the six Vietnamese were driving the containers, which had about five tons of goods: soap, shampoo and hair dryers. At about 7 p.m., they dropped hundreds of boxes in the undemarcated area,” he said.

Cambodian border officials detained the men the next day, found they had no papers for the unwanted goods and forced them to sign a contract promising not to dump expired products in the white zone again before releasing them, according to Mr. Kimsorn.

But Vietnamese authorities are refusing to allow the truckers back across the border, he said. “I see that up until today they are still in the undemarcated area because custom officials in Vietnam will not let them return. I have no idea why.”

Vietnamese Embassy officials could not be reached for comment on Monday.

Hem Yoeun, the chief of Ponhea Krek district’s Trapaing Phlong commune, said it was not the first time expired products from across the border had been dumped in the area.

“Previously, they left the expired goods at night, but I don’t know where they ended up,” Mr. Yoeun said, adding that he had no authority to take action in such instances. “I just saw what was happening,” he said, declining to comment further.

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