Koh Kong border scams - update
Replies: 1 - Last Post: Nov 22, 2012 12:34 AM Last Post By: montyman
Nov 21, 2012 9:25 PM
Koh Kong border scams - updateThe 90 min ride from Trat was uneventful and I disembarked amid dour faces to make my way across the frontier, the single smile coming my way was from the Immigration Officer who bade me:
100 metres later and I was engulfed in true smiles and the Khmer sense of fun was immediately apparent.
“Where you from?”
“Thailand!” brought the house down.
The first border scam, for which Cambodia is notorious, was my first encounter with officialdom. A stern-looking lady in a white lab coat “scanned me” with what appeared to be a home made device resembling a small bottle of shampoo to which a metal button (the camera lens??) had been stuck onto. Having traversed my body she paid close attention to each eye (I was wearing extremely dark, prescription sunglasses!) before pronouncing me healthy. This she confirmed by proffering a yellow “clearance certificate”:
“Give the “doctor” $1!” her sidekick instructed.
“No thank you, I am well enough without!” induced a fit of sniggering on his part as he continued to fill out my immigration form.
Next my new found assistant guided me to the unmissable Visa Office where the only non-smiling face appeared. In return for my passport, form, photo and $20 bill this archetypal Nazi harridan demanded;
“Visa is $25!”
“No it isn't, it's $20!" and she slammed the window shut. I left my papers on the counter, dumped my bag on same the leaned my back against her window and comfortably viewed the scenery. A few mins later the window slid open once more;
“You must pay $25! They all paid $25!” indicating a newly-opened package of tourists, milling around awaiting their shepherd.
“Well, more fool them” The visa is $20 and that is what I will pay!” as my voice gained an octave.
“But the fee is now $25!”
“I will pay $25 but you must give me an Ordinary visa (formerly known as a Business visa) for that!” The window slammed again and I yelled at the blackened glass;
“You are a f***ing thief!” causing my “helper” to jump.
A few moments passed and a male hand retrieved my documents, he passport being returned tout de suite with a 30-day Tourist visa. I then moved to the final window where my photo and fingerprints were digitally entered into “the system” (no charge) and the officer happily waved me into his country. The whole process had taken but 15 mins and I had used up the last of a roll of 50 passport photos that had been made in 1997 – yes, I have changed out of all recognition!
Next came the haggling over transportation away from the border:
“Taxi to the bus station, 300 baht!”
“We are in Cambodia, why qote in baht?”
“What do you think I am, a rich American?!?!"
“Okay, give me 40,000 riels!”
“That is still $10, I'll give you $6!” We could have gone on but I really wanted to reach Kampot tonight so I cut the discussions short:
“How much for a moto?”
“I'll pay $5, now let's get moving!” shoving him towards the parking area.
I paid over the odds but was satisfied, especially as he took great care because of my disabilities and made several phone calls to find the best bus option. As it happened the bus drivers were taking a long siesta so I found myself 3 hours in a taxi to meet a bus on the main road from the capital followed by another hour until I reached Sihanoukville.
A gentle way to enter Cambodia.
Nov 22, 2012 12:34 AM
1Not my Rhetoric, but certainly reflects my feelings Ha! Ha!
as my recent experience on the Cambodian Laos border protestation thread. The more we stand our ground the more difficult it is for them to continue this corruption, sadly the $5 doesnt all go into their pockets but goes right to the top as HenningWessel made me aware and before he died he arranged many group travels through the borders and was obligated to pay even more.
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