Tag Archives: Border

Sungai Kolok a Cowboy Town

Just after the Bridge, Immigration couter is in the building on the right. You can just walk straight without entering the building.

Sungai Kolok ( สุไหงโก-ลก) used to be famous with tourists from neighbouring country, Malaysia. However since the rise of the seperatist groups in Southern Thailand where there were shootings, bombings etc few years ago, the town slowly turns to be a very quiet town.

On the way into the town from the border.

Normally on weekends, it might be very difficult to find a hotel room in this border town. However now, it is very easy and you might be given discount for weekends. The border security in Sungai Kolok is not that tight. The Sungai Kolok – Rantau Panjang Bridge connects Thailand and Malaysia.

Entering the town.

Vendors from both countries use the bridge a lot. However, the checkpoint in Malaysia is very strict. You need to pass the immigration counter so that your passport or border pass will be stamped. However, after walking across the bridge, you can just walk straight without ignoring the Thai Immigration counter which is situated on the right hand side.

Quite empty.

There are plenty of motorcycle taxis around that area. They charge around 20 Baht from the border into the town which is about 1km. Holding 2 nationalities is very comfortable for me to walk in and out between these two countries.

Very quiet even on the day time.

Sungai Kolok is like other Thai border towns. There are Thai, Thai Chinese and Thai Muslim all over. There are also army in almost every parts of the town. For me, without those bombings or shootings, Sungai Kolok is a very perfect town. Not so big or small. Just nice. In Sungai Kolok, the locals speak Yawi, one of the dialect in Malay Language. Thai is being use in the town as well. Some of the Chinese families in the town speak perfect Chinese language.

Downtown

Main street in Sungai Kolok

On the Malaysian side. The immigration counter is in the building which everyone has to go through. It is a little strict than the Thai.

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Southern violence greets Abhisit and Najib

A fury of bomb attacks in the southern region greet Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and his Malaysian counterpart, Najib Razak, who jointly opened and renamed a bridge in Narathiwat.

The two leaders arrived by a helicopter in Waeng district to commemorate the Thai-Malay Friendship Bridge over the Kolok River, a natural boundary that cuts through a Malay-speaking region where many people on both sides are relatives. The visit was billed as a model of how the two neighbouring countries, in spite of security challenge along their common border, can cooperate.

The trip was part of Najib’s three-day official visit to the country, his first as Malaysia’s prime minister. Thousands of security forces and bomb squads were dispatched to provide security for the delegations but militants on the ground took, as well as other disturbances, greeted the visit with bomb attacks in other parts of this violence-wracked region.

In the latest violence, four bombs went off in Yala’s provincial town Wednesday morning. One of them was a twin bomb blast that killed a forensic police officer and three security officials wounded in twin bomb blasts by a riverbank in Yala’s provincial town on Wednesday morning.

Earlier Wednesday, two Thai marines were wounded in a bomb and gun attack in Narathiwat as they tried to collect banners criticising Abhisit’s policies on the south. One series of banner, posted through out the three provinces in both Jawi and Rumi, reads “Patani Sebahagian daripada Malaysia”, which translated as “Patani is part of Malaysia”. “It could be anybody with an intention to irritate the delegations,” said Senator Worawit Baru, when asked who he think were behind such statement.

Worawit pointed out that the militants on the ground often spray paint the word “Patani Merdeka”, which mean “Free Patani” on the roads and streets. Another roadside bomb wounded two troops and a policeman assigned to a security details for teachers in Yala. On Tuesday a bomb killed a soldier and wounded another in a Narathiwat road where Abhisit and Najib were scheduled to pass through.

The second soldier died in the hospital. On Monday, two people were killed by a powerful motorcycle bomb in Narathiwat provincial town while two other civilians were shot dead earlier this week.

The two-lane bridge that was renamed yesterday open in December 2007 by Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Surayud Chulanont, the then-prime ministers of Malaysia and Thailand, in a bid to boost the border region’s economy. Badawi did not visit any other parts of southern Thailand at the time.

 Future plans include linking the economy of the southernmost provinces to Malaysia’s northern states. The two leaders were later Wednesday due to visit one public school and one Islamic school, a handicraft village and a “widow village” that shelters some 140 families affected by the unrest.

The Nation

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Cambodia investigates second killing on border

A Cambodian official accused Thai troops of fatally shooting a Cambodian national who tried to cross the border illegally, local media reported Wednesday.

The incident marked the second time in two months that Thai troops have been accused of killing Cambodians along the border in north-western Cambodia.

The Phnom Penh Post newspaper cited the governor of the provincial capital of Oddar Meanchey province as saying the victim, Sim Bun Chhim, 25, was crossing the border with two other men Monday night when Thai soldiers opened fire. The other men escaped, but Sim Bun Chhim was seriously injured and died on his way to hospital.

Thon Nol, the governor of Samrong, condemned the act.

“They crossed the border illegally, but (Thai troops) shot them like animals,” Thon Nol told the newspaper. “They should have arrested them and sent them back to the Cambodian authorities.”

The Foreign Affairs Ministry was awaiting a report from local authorities before deciding on any course of action, spokesman Koy Kuong said Wednesday.

Last month, a Cambodian teenager was reportedly tied to an ox cart and burned alive by Thai troops after being caught logging illegally in Thailand.

The Thai government had said 16-year-old Yon Rith was already dead from gunshot wounds when troops burned his body.

The ministry spokesman said Phnom Penh had received a note from the Thai government refuting the allegation. Cambodian officials were still investigating the teenager’s death.

“The note says that the Thai side agrees to cooperate with Cambodia to bring the offenders to justice but asked Cambodia to provide more evidence,” Koy Koung said. “I don’t know how long that (investigation) will take.”

Cambodia and Thailand have had a tense and long-running dispute over their 804-kilometre-long border. Violence has flared on occasion between troops on both sides, most recently in the area around the 11th-century Preah Vihear temple on Cambodia’s northern border.

The Nation

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Border snarl up as Cambodians demand truck payment

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Customs officials there yesterday demanded that the drivers present the original truckregistration book and submit a security sum of US$5,000 (Bt167,750) each. Although the procedures are in line with customs regulations, they have long been relaxed.

 For years, trucks from Thai soil could move past the Poi Pet checkpoint by just presenting a copy of the truckregistration book. With no explanation, Cambodian customs officials in Poi Pet have stopped allowing Thai trucks to pass beyond their boundary by just presenting a copy of the truckregistration book.

When the procedures suddenly changed, more than 150 trucks got stuck in front of the Baan Klong Luek permanent checkpoint in Sa Kaeo’s Aranyaprathet district on the Thai side. The tailback stretched back as far as 500 meters since 9 am yesterday, paralysing traffic in nearby areas. The trucks were supposed to deliver products to Cambodia.

 “We have no way to find money to post the $5,000 security sum,” a truck driver complained. Cambodia-Thailand Border Coordination Office official Leem Tek of reportedly told the drivers that some Cambodian customs officials took the move because they were unhappy with Thai officials. “They drove to Thailand but were asked to present some documents. Upset with the treatment, they have decided to stop being lenient with Thai trucks,” Leem Tek said.

Asked why the Cambodian customs officials did not inform the truck drivers in advance, he refused to give any answer and retreated to the Cambodian side. However, at 12.30pm, Cambodian customs officials agreed to let the trucks pass the Poi Pet checkpoint with just a copy of the truckregistration book for one day only. Although the decision quickly eased traffic congestion in front of the Ban Klong Luek checkpoint yesterday, it raised concern among the drivers about what was to come the next day.

the nation

Well, in my opinion, this is a little too much. They should have give the truck drivers notice in advance. They should use their common sense that the truckers won’t be carrying that large amount of cash. This will just cause trouble at the border. Maybe they are too bored at Poipet.

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