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Cambodians block bridge, call for people to be freed

Cambodians stage a protest at the border checkpoint opposite Sa Kaew

Cambodians stage a protest at the border checkpoint opposite Sa Kaew

Some 300 Cambodian people held a protest at the Thai-Cambodian border checkpoint on the Thai-Cambodian Friendship Bridge opposite Sa Kaew province, demanding the release of some Cambodian merchants arrested by Thai officials on Thursday.

They also blockaded the bridge with 10 wooden trolleys, which resulted in long queues for vehicles on both sides of the border.

The blockade ended at 5pm and traffic across the border resumed as usual.

Negotiations between the two sides in the morning failed, while Tri Narin, the governor of Cambodia's Poipet municipality, told Thai officials that the group wanted the arrested Cambodian merchants to be released. Thai officials insisted that they had only done their duty when they arrested the Cambodian merchants for allegedly attempting to smuggle pirated goods into Thailand. They insisted they had never arrested any innocent Cambodian merchants.

Sa Kaew Governor Phakkharathon Thianchai later negotiated with his Cambodian counterpart, which brought an end to the protest. Phakkharathon said Cambodians might not understand the new tax collection system, which was also an issue that led to protest.

He said Thai authorities would for now use the previous system and prepare them for the new system. He, however, said that smuggling of pirated goods would be dealt with according to Thai law.




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