Tough rules in place for border passes

Tough rules in place for border passes

Local authorities in Cambodia’s Banteay Meancheay province have begun issuing a new border pass which only its governor can sign, to prevent people sneaking across the border into Thailand’s Sa Kaeo province.

Sa Kaeo immigration chief Pol Col Benjapol Rodsawat said yesterday he had been notified by Banteay Meanchey governor Suon Bavor that there will be no more yellow border passes issued to Cambodians.

Cambodians wanting to enter Thailand will now have to submit a request for a blue one at a one-stop service centre in Banteay Meancheay, not the Poipet border checkpoint, and only the governor can sign and validate it, he said.

Only Cambodians from Banteay Meancheay qualify to have the border pass.

The measures are based on a Thai-Cambodian MoU on border crossings through Ban Klong Luek immigration checkpoint in Sa Kaeo’s Aranyaprathet district, he added.

“Removing the authority to approve border passes from Poipet immigration officers and giving it to the Banteay Meanchey governor is to prevent Cambodians who are not native to or do not live in the province illegally applying for a pass and crossing into Thailand,” Pol Col Benjapol said.

Those who still have a yellow border pass can continue using them until they expire.

The immigration official also said the new border pass will cost up to 20,000 Cambodian riel or about 200 baht.

Cambodian border officials tended to charge migrant workers between 700-1,500 baht for a pass to anyone asking for them.

Another problem with many Cambodians living outside of Banteay Meancheay applying for a border pass to come and work in Thailand was that it was more difficult to conduct background checks on them, Pol Col Benjapol said.

He said Thai authorities have also stepped up patrols along the border to make sure that there are no illegal crossings elsewhere along the border.

Cambodian workers with border passes are allowed to stay seven days in Sa Kaeo.

Thailand’s Rong Kluea Market in Aranyaprathet district and Cambodia’s Poipet Market in Sisophon city see a great deal of border trade.