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Poipet checkpoint to be upgraded, enlarged

Ven Rathavong / Khmer Times Share:
Porters carry goods across the Thai-Cambodia border. KT/Chor Sokunthea

The government has decided to build a new immigration office at the Poipet International Border Checkpoint at a cost of more than $2 million.
General Sok Phal, the director general of the Interior Ministry’s immigration department, told reporters on Sunday after an annual meeting with Thailand’s immigration police commander that both countries committed to enhance security and anti-terrorism measures, as well as prevent transnational crimes and drug trafficking, through the border crossing.  
Gen. Phal said that his department controls six international border checkpoints across the kingdom and affirmed that a new immigration office would be constructed at the Poipet border checkpoint.
“The government has decided to build a new administrative building in 2017. This project was approved by Samdech [Prime Minister] Hun Sen and will cost more than $2 million,” he said, adding that the project would start this month or next.
The project is estimated to cost between $2.2 million and $2.8 million.
Gen. Phal added that he would have one last meeting with Interior Ministry officials this weekend before implementation of the project begins.
According to the project, the new border gate will be modernized and larger, similar to that of Thailand. It will facilitate the checking of passports and relevant documents as well as help resolve border congestion.
Poipet immigration police chief Sim Sam Ath said the new immigration office would be better and bigger, but declined to go into details about the project.
Last week, the government decided to stop selling temporary permits to Cambodian citizens heading to Thailand’s Rong Kluea border market through the Poipet checkpoint.
A letter from Banteay Meanchey provincial governor Soun Bavor said that Deputy Prime Minister Ke Kim Yan decided to stop selling the permits – also known as border passes – to Cambodians crossing the border to help reduce their expenditures.
Gen. Phal said previously that the 10-baht border fee was divided equally between Cambodia and Thailand. Now that the fee has been scrapped, his Thai counterpart has asked Cambodia to respond to the expenditures of Thailand for printing the now useless permits.
However, Gen. Phal only confirmed that he would work and discuss more with his Thai counterpart about the cancellation of the border pass.  
Last Tuesday, Cambodia and Laos inaugurated a new checkpoint on the border between both countries, subsequently reaching an agreement to allow residents on both sides to cross freely with only a special border pass.

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