Chong Sa-ngam border crossing closed after Thai-Cambodian clashes

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SI SA KET, April 24 – Si Sa Ket’s Chong Sa-ngam border crossing has been closed since Sunday’s noon for safety reasons after fresh Thai-Cambodian fighting reerupted in neighbouring Surin province in the morning, a local customs officer said, while border trade at Rong Kluea Market in Sa Kaeo’s Aranyaprathet district continued.

Trade and tourism along Thai-Cambodian border in Si Sa Ket province have been suspended, following the Sunday’s closure of Chong Sa-ngam border crossing after it had been opened for four hours in the morning.

Orawan Boonsang, a head of the customs officers at Chong Sa-ngam border crossing, explained that the closure was for safety reasons for Thai and Cambodian people after the sounds of gunfire was heard along the border in Surin.

Earlier, Chong Sa-ngam border crossing was temporarily closed on Friday (April 22), following the skirmish along Thai-Cambodian border in Surin’s Phanom Dong Rak district. Later, officers reopened the crossing for trade and tourism, depending on the situation.

Initially, it was projected that the closure of the Chong Sa-ngam border crossing will cause Bt10 million (over US$333,000) in losses.

Meanwhile, the Aranyaprathet border crossing in Sa Kaeo province remains opened on Sunday with ten thousand of Cambodian people flocking to Rong Kluea Market to buy commodity products back to their country.

Army Captain Chan Vongvaimathee, commander of ranger company 1206, under Burapha Task Force, said there is no reinforcement of Thai troops at the Thai-Cambodian border in Aranyaprathet district, but he has been instructed to closely monitor the situation and for troops to be on standby at their base.

10,000 Cambodians reportedly crossed into Rong Kluea Market for work and trading since the border crossing opened at 7am after the crossings in Surin and Buri Ram provinces were temporarily closed.

Tourists, both Thai and foreigners, also continued travelling to Cambodia’s Poi Pet town in Banteay Meanchey province as usual, but about ten tour groups have already cancelled trips to Angkor Wat in Siem Riap.