Vietnamese tents baffle border guards

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Authorities have visited the camps built by the Vietnamese authorities along the border. Police

Kandal and Takeo provincial authorities bordering Vietnam have expressed concern after witnessing irregularities by the Vietnamese authorities, including the deployment of soldiers to erect 114 camps just 30m from the border.

Takeo provincial governor Ouch Phea told The Post on Thursday that Vietnamese soldiers had erected 83 camps along the provincial borderline on the Vietnam side, some 30m from border markers, citing the need to tighten crossings to stop the spread of Covid-19.

“Our border authorities have been monitoring the situation to make sure the Vietnamese do not move any tents on to Cambodian land,” he said.

In a separate case, Kandal provincial governor Kong Sophorn said at a press conference at the Council of Ministers on Thursday that Vietnamese soldiers had erected 31 camps along the border. But they removed nine of the camps after a request from Cambodian police.

He said Vietnamese soldiers had put up tents along with wooden pillars or bamboo and placed a bed in the middle of each 3-4sqm tent for two or three soldiers to sit or sleep. The camps were built from the Kaam Samnor border checkpoint to Takeo totalling 31 locations.

Sophorn said: “On the Vietnamese side, An Giang authorities said that they agreed to remove the tents, but requested that the season of Covid-19 finish first.

“We continue to monitor the activities of Vietnamese soldiers who are erecting the tents along this border.

“We cannot ignore the case because our provincial level reported it already to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, the Ministry of Interior and the Border Affairs Committee. We will work with Vietnam to resolve the matter.”

Sophorn said the Kandal provincial authorities told the Vietnamese to remove the tents immediately because Vietnam should not have erected the tents in the area.

Royal Academy of Cambodia president Sok Touch said on Thursday that Cambodian citizens had not crossed the border into Vietnam.

But the Vietnamese had crossed the border into Cambodian land. He said he is concerned that the Vietnamese soldiers themselves had crossed the border.

He told The Post that the Cambodia-Vietnam border in Kandal province was 29km. And it is 7km from Kaam Samnor in Leuk Daek district to Chrey Thom in Koh Thom district. These areas had many border markers since the French colonial era.