Thai authorities on Sunday stopped nearly 50 homemade tractors driven by Cambodians who were transporting chemical fertilizer from Thailand’s Sa Kaeo province into Banteay Meanchey province through an illegal corridor.
Ouk Sophanith, police chief of Banteay Meanchey province’s Thmor Pouk district, which borders Sa Kaeo province’s Ta Phraya district, said that nearly 300 Cambodians were stopped in Ta Phraya district.
“There was a case where Thai authorities stopped the Cambodians’ homemade tractors transporting fertilizers. A total of 274 Cambodians and 49 homemade tractors were stopped, but we intervened and completely resolved the case,” he said.
Mr Sophanith said the tractors and fertilizer were given back to the owners although some bags of fertilizer were seized as evidence.
“From the 49 homemade tractors, they transported 655 bags of fertilizer. The Thai authorities seized 200 bags as evidence and gave the rest back,” he said.
He added Thai authorities want Cambodians to cross at official border gates to make sure imported and exported products are properly checked.
“The reason was because our Cambodians crossed the border through the illegal Thnong corridor. The Ta Phraya district administration of Thailand and our Thmor Pouk district administration have prohibited crossing through that corridor. Instead they must use the Boeung Trakoun border checkpoint,” he said.
Although he said all illegal corridors have been closed, Mr Sophanith added that people could still get through because of their “insistent requests” to officers stationed there.
“Their purpose is to get into Thailand through the corridor to transport the fertilizer to cultivate their crops and buy food. I don’t know why they were arrested this time because there’s never been a problem,” he said.