Border checkpoint chief warned over graft

Khy Sovuthy / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
Officers inspect papers of people crossing the border. Supplied

The General Immigration Department has issued a warning to the immigration police chief of O’Smach International Checkpoint in Oddar Meanchey province following accusations that he and his officers took bribes.

General Kirth Chantharith, department director-general, yesterday said he issued a warning letter to Brigadier General Khong Tin over allegations that bribes were being taken from people crossing the border into Thailand.

“We have taken disciplinary action already by issuing an official letter to warn him and have ordered him to correct himself,” Gen Chantharith said.

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He noted that he has always insisted that his officers uphold the department’s good name and refrain from wrongdoing.

“I appeal to the people that if they have any information about such cases like this, please alert the department through our hotline or Facebook page,” Gen Chantharith said. “We will take action on all complaints.”

On Friday, Gen Chantharith posted on the department’s Facebook page that he had received allegations of wrongdoings by Brig Gen Tin and his officers and had sent a working group led by his deputy Lieutenant General Chea Thea to conduct an investigation at the border checkpoint.

“People who were involved claimed that they had given between $1.25 and $2.50 to police officials,” he said. “They clarified that they were the ones who offered the money and the officers did not demand any payment.”

He noted that some people are unable to fill out immigration forms and pay money to reward police officers who help them to do so.

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Srey Naren, provincial coordinator of the human rights group Adhoc, yesterday said he often crosses the border checkpoint and has seen people paying money to officers.

“Most travellers always provide between $1.25 and $2.40 to immigration police officers,” he said, adding that it had become a habit.

“It would be good if police officers reject accepting the money and inform the people that it is a crime,” Mr Naren said. “Unfortunately, the officers corruptly accept the money that is offered.”

He noted that this activity had been going on at the checkpoint for a long time.

Brig Gen Tin declined to comment yesterday.

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