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Hun Sen Calls for Decreased Smuggling

Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday called on customs officials to work harder to prevent cross-border smuggling as elections approach, but critics called the order political posturing.

Speaking at an annual government finance meeting, Hun Sen said the election period was always one of increased smuggling, and he called on his officials to work to stop it.

Corruption cost Cambodian businesses more than $330 million in 2005, and the government failed to collect $400 million in taxes, USAID has said.

Finance Minister Keat Chhon said his ministry was fighting corruption in order to improve the economy.

But opposition leader Sam Rainsy, a former finance minister himself, said smuggling should be prevented at all times, not just during an election run-up.

He called Hun Sen’s remarks “demagoguery.”