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Vendors Clash With Border Police Over Fee

A young boy was injured in a clash between goods porters and border police in Poipet Wednesday morning, during a demonstration over a new private export fee.

More than 100 porters gathered in front of the Poipet border checkpoint Wednesday morning, angered by a new policy that forces them to pay 150 riel per kilogram to a private company in order to pull their goods to Thailand for sale.

Porters said the fee, which was instituted Monday and is enforced by state border police, was unfair, especially because they already have export licenses from the government.

Pheak Vutha, 14, said he was kicked by a border policeman during the heated demonstration after encouraging other porters to bypass the police and cross the border.

“When I joined the demonstration with my mom, I shouted, ‘Here, we should go! We should go!’” he told VOA Khmer by phone Wednesday. “And when the border police heard that, they were angry with me and took me to the border police post, and [the policeman] kicked me two times with his boots. Now I’m hurt on my head and my body, and I appeal for the Cambodian government to withdraw [the policeman] who kicked me.”

The new fee is being charged by Chhouk Lon Enterprise Export Import, whose owner, Lim Tang Por, said Wednesday he had a license from a former Bantey Meanchey provincial governor.

He denied porters’ claims was a relative of Prime Minister Hun Sen.