Crossing Cambodia

Friday, November 10, 2006

Update on petrol prices

A slightly older article posted ion the KI site originally reported from Agence Presse in Vietnam. Apparently it's not all small-timers involved in the smuggling of fuel:

HANOI, Vietnam(AP) - Authorities in southern fined three Cambodians for smuggling more than 6,000 liters of diesel out of the country, a border official said Tuesday.

The smugglers from Kampot province in southern Cambodiawere intercepted last week in Vietnamese waters with 6,300 liters (1,660 gallons) of diesel in their boat, said Nguyen Huu Tai, the deputy chief of Xa Xia border checkpoint in Kien Giang province.

The government of Kien Giang fined the Cambodians 2.2 million dong (US$140; euro110) each on Monday for illegal entry and illegally transporting goods across the border, Tai said.

The men were released Monday after paying their fines, he said.

Vietnam estimates that hundreds of thousands of liters of fuel are smuggled into Cambodia daily, causing substantial losses to Vietnam's government which heavily subsidizes the price of fuel.

Diesel is about 5,000 dong (31 U.S. cents; 24 EU cents) cheaper per liter in Vietnam than Cambodia, Tai said.

"It's impossible for us to completely control the fuel smuggling because the border is long and we have a shortage of staff," Tai said.

The Vietnamese government is expected to pay 12.8 trillion dong (US$800 million; euro621 million) in fuel subsidies this year.

Vietnam exports crude oil, but imports refined oil products. Its first oil refinery is under construction in central province of Quang Ngai.

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