New border checkpoint on Thai-Lao border to prevent rice smuggling

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A new border checkpoint is now in place on the Thai-Lao PDR Mekong River border.

The border checkpoint was set up by Thai police at Ban Kok Suwan in this northeastern province across the river from the Lao province of Savannakhet to prevent rice smuggling from the neighboring country to sell – illegally – under Thailand’s rice pledging scheme.

Mukdahan Internal Trade Department Office chief Somboon Chumponsatien said checkpoints were set up also at other districts.

He added, meanwhile, the province could not proceed with implementing the rice pledging scheme, for the subcommittee monitoring rice pledging processes is verifying the qualifications of rice mills applying to participate.

However, Somboon said local farmers have not yet been affected, as they have not begun their harvest.

In nearby Kalasin province, Internal Trade Department Office provincial chief Torawat Saengtong and representatives of the provincial committee monitoring rice have examined more than 20 mills joining the program.

Torawat said the pledging process cannot start, as the mills have not installed closed-circuit television cameras as a hindrance to corruption. The pledging is expected to begin by the end of October in Kalasin.