Wall of Fresh Fish Blocks Poipet Border

Thai authorities withdrew a 600 percent import tax increase on Cambodian fish vendors on Thursday after the angered cart-pushers formed a wall of baskets teeming with fresh fish along a border checkpoint on Thursday in protest, according to Poipet authorities.

About 200 vendors lined their wheeled baskets several rows deep along the bridge on the Cambodian side of Poipet International Border Checkpoint in Banteay Meanchey province, said Chin Piseth, deputy of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces’ Cambodia-Thailand relation border bureau.

The Cambodian fish sellers arrived at the Thai side of the border at about 9 a.m. to find that Thai officials had increased the import tax without warning from $10 per basket—with each basket holding about 100 kg—to $70, according to Mr. Piseth.

“They will just increase the price whenever they feel like it,” he said.

Mr. Piseth said he believed the Thai authorities wanted to prevent Cambodian vendors from doing business in their country.

The vendors, who said they could not afford to pay the increased import tax, blocked traffic for several hours in the morning, demanding to pay the same price they had paid the day before and asking Cambodian authorities to intervene, said Poipet City governor Ngor Meng Chroun.

The governor and other Cambodian officials crossed the border and successfully negotiated with Thai authorities to bring the tax back down to $10, Mr. Meng Chroun said.

Protesters dispersed at about 12:15 p.m. after hearing their efforts had been successful, he added.

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