In a bid to thwart delinquent immigration officials, authorities in Banteay Meanchey province have urged all travellers crossing the border to Thailand to only use the One Window Service Office at the Provincial Hall and avoid brokers.
Banteay Meanchey deputy Governor Um Reatrey said on Monday that he has recently received reports that immigration police officers stationed at the Provincial Hall have conspired with brokers to charge travellers about $65 in order to be issued a border pass.
Mr Reatrey said not all immigration officials at the Provincial Hall were involved. He added that travellers should not deal with suspicious brokers when applying for a border pass.
“Officials working at the One Window Service Office located at the Provincial Hall charge about $5 per person,” Mr Reatrey said. “They could even help with filling out an application for a border pass free of charge.”
On Friday, local media websites reported that 23 migrant workers who paid $65 each planned to stage a protest at the Provincial Hall after they were promised border passes by an unnamed immigration police officer.
Cheur Soriya, an immigration officer, said yesterday that travellers must caution themselves when dealing with brokers who ask for money.
“Go directly to the One Window Service Office in order to avoid getting cheated by brokers,” Mr Soriya said.
Sum Chankea, provincial coordinator with rights group Adhoc, said yesterday that provincial authorities must take legal action in order to protect their credibility.
“The provincial administration should take a closer look and prevent it from ever happening again,” Mr Chankea said. “People shouldn’t have to pay to cross the border.”
Provincial deputy police chief Vong Rith could not be reached for comment yesterday.
In January, Banteay Meanchey introduced the One Window Service Office in Serei Saophoan city.