Border Control – Shame of Cambodia

The border checkpoints of Cambodia are of the very special kind. When entering Cambodia at the land crossing in Poipet, it all happened as described in guidebooks and several internet publications. First a ‘guide’ with some kind of tourism badge attached at us already on the Thai side of the border. He would not move from our side, somehow seeming to have a symbiotic relation to us. When entering the visa post on cambodian side, actually I was the only person requesting a visa at the early time of 08:30. Filling in the visa request form was easy, and even a photo I had with me. There was one officer in front of a big bulletproof window and two behind. I put the application together with the photo and 30 US dollar (official visa fee) on the counter, when the one officer in front whispered to me ‘100 baht’. The two behind the bulletproof window  were literally numbed. Not even an eye movement was visible. Hard measures had to be taken as I did not want to wait. 100 baht on counter (2,5 US dollar), and it happened. Magically the two officers started to live again and processed my visa within 3 minutes.
Shame on you. Corruption openly done.

Even more interesting was leaving Cambodia at the land crossing of Stung Treng. This one was a bit like in a Mafia movie, where the bad guys collect the protection money. The officer (in uniform) wore pilot sunglasses (inside the room) and had a leather attache case where he collected the bribes of 2 US dollar per person. Only then the passports were given to the processing officers.
Shame on you. Corruption openly done.

By the way at the Poipet border the small local border traffic is done completely without any kind of official control. All goods just change the side of the bridge, often just by a human drawn cart. Further here the side of driving is changing from Thailand (driving left = wrong) to Cambodia (driving right = right), which looks awesome. Also there are in the no-mans-land some Casinos which cater mainly to Thais, as gambling is illegal there, looked posh inside, but didn’t test more than the toilets.

 

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