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Cham Yeam/Hat Lek IO scam


Chrisdoc

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Hi. Has anyone any news whether Cambodian Immigration at Cham Yeam are still asking for extra money. I have read to ask to take a photo of their fake notice, smile alot and just keep offering the $30 usd. Last time I crossed a few years ago my girlfriend gave them 1500 baht to get me through against my protests. Hopefully they have cleaned it up. Any advice/info appreciated.

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

I wanted to follow up my experience at Cham Yeam as it is still totally corrupt. I have been through there twice lately and first time they asked for 1500 baht instead of $30 USD. Second time they asked for $37USD. I had printed out an info sheet from Cambodia Travel and

 

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Sorry pressed post by mistake on last post. I printed out an info sheet from Cambodia Travel and showed that and just sat there telling them how much I loved Koh Kong and Cambodia till they took the money. They tried it on many people when I was there including the fake health check. Beware.

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The fake health check seems to be gone now, but it's easy enough to avoid anyway. They never seem to ask any local looking people, Thais or anyone that arrives by car. I once called out their bluff and accused them of discrimination - I pointed to Cambodians and Thais in the vicinity and asked why they weren't asked and they quickly backed off. Since arriving by car you don't even need to go anywhere near that health table - but you will be hit up for money to "lift the gate", "for beer" and for the daily fee to bring your car in. I understand they will also charge you if you bring in a motorcycle, though I'm not sure as I've never done that before.

 

This year I've been through Koh Kong twice and last year I went through there 3 times. The first 2 times I had a visa so no problems but the third time I was asked to cough up extra money. The thing is, I asked for a business visa, and if you ask to pay the official price, they bring up a notice about requiring extra documents and such (for nationals eligible for a visa on arrival, no documents are required for a business visa; now they are cracking down on extensions, but that's another story; for the initial entry the process is still the same as usual). It's much easier to pay the official price if you are just asking for a tourist visa. They wanted US$45 for the business visa, which I managed to get down to US$40 without much effort, even though that was still US$5 over the real cost.

 

My buddy paid the first price he was asked for a tourist visa, which was US$37 I think. He got out of there just 2 mins before me. Similarly, family members who joined me the first time I went last year all paid the inflated amount. I think they were asked for 1600 Baht. As I already had a visa from the Cambodian embassy in Bangkok, I sailed through.

 

On my first trip this year, I tried hard but didn't manage to get the price down at all for the same business visa I received there last year. I ended up paying US$45, despite explaining that I paid $40 last year and that I could remember the guy with the reading glasses but he obviously couldn't remember me. He told me that "this isn't a market place" to which I responded "actually, yes it is!" after which the other guy tried to hand me back my passport. I said "no way, I'm staying here". I was offering US$1 more every minute, starting at US$39 and when I ended up at US$44 I decided I'm not wasting another minute on trying to save US$1 I just want to get my visa and go, i still had a long drive ahead of me to Phnom Penh and still hadn't had lunch yet, so I paid the US$45 and got out of there. I then converted this to a 1-year extension of stay and 1 month later re-entered with that visa, so no requests for money.

 

But yes, unfortunately, the Koh Kong border is notorious for wanting extra money and unlike other border crossings, it seems to be more difficult to pay the official price.

 

I would therefore advise to be prepared to pay a little extra, but aim to pay somewhere between the official price and their inflated one. Start at US$1 above the official price and try to end up paying no more than $3-4 above the official price. Be calm and you may get away with paying the official price as Phuketrichard has. At all other crossings I've entered, no problems with paying the official price - Poipet, O'Smach, at Daung (Ban Laem) I entered using an extension of stay. At Poipet I also had no trouble paying the official price for a business visa. Just not at Koh Kong.

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  • 4 months later...
The fake health check seems to be gone now, but it's easy enough to avoid anyway. They never seem to ask any local looking people, Thais or anyone that arrives by car. I once called out their bluff and accused them of discrimination - I pointed to Cambodians and Thais in the vicinity and asked why they weren't asked and they quickly backed off. Since arriving by car you don't even need to go anywhere near that health table - but you will be hit up for money to "lift the gate", "for beer" and for the daily fee to bring your car in. I understand they will also charge you if you bring in a motorcycle, though I'm not sure as I've never done that before.
 
This year I've been through Koh Kong twice and last year I went through there 3 times. The first 2 times I had a visa so no problems but the third time I was asked to cough up extra money. The thing is, I asked for a business visa, and if you ask to pay the official price, they bring up a notice about requiring extra documents and such (for nationals eligible for a visa on arrival, no documents are required for a business visa; now they are cracking down on extensions, but that's another story; for the initial entry the process is still the same as usual). It's much easier to pay the official price if you are just asking for a tourist visa. They wanted US$45 for the business visa, which I managed to get down to US$40 without much effort, even though that was still US$5 over the real cost.
 
My buddy paid the first price he was asked for a tourist visa, which was US$37 I think. He got out of there just 2 mins before me. Similarly, family members who joined me the first time I went last year all paid the inflated amount. I think they were asked for 1600 Baht. As I already had a visa from the Cambodian embassy in Bangkok, I sailed through.
 
On my first trip this year, I tried hard but didn't manage to get the price down at all for the same business visa I received there last year. I ended up paying US$45, despite explaining that I paid $40 last year and that I could remember the guy with the reading glasses but he obviously couldn't remember me. He told me that "this isn't a market place" to which I responded "actually, yes it is!" after which the other guy tried to hand me back my passport. I said "no way, I'm staying here". I was offering US$1 more every minute, starting at US$39 and when I ended up at US$44 I decided I'm not wasting another minute on trying to save US$1 I just want to get my visa and go, i still had a long drive ahead of me to Phnom Penh and still hadn't had lunch yet, so I paid the US$45 and got out of there. I then converted this to a 1-year extension of stay and 1 month later re-entered with that visa, so no requests for money.
 
But yes, unfortunately, the Koh Kong border is notorious for wanting extra money and unlike other border crossings, it seems to be more difficult to pay the official price.
 
I would therefore advise to be prepared to pay a little extra, but aim to pay somewhere between the official price and their inflated one. Start at US$1 above the official price and try to end up paying no more than $3-4 above the official price. Be calm and you may get away with paying the official price as Phuketrichard has. At all other crossings I've entered, no problems with paying the official price - Poipet, O'Smach, at Daung (Ban Laem) I entered using an extension of stay. At Poipet I also had no trouble paying the official price for a business visa. Just not at Koh Kong.
Just got back from Cambodia via hat lek border and yes the fake health scam is still there, cheeky sods have even built and official looking booth now. Asked me for money, told em your just a scam. I had an e visa and when I got to front of the queue the IO " walked away, waited 10 mins, no one came so had to jump in the other queue much t the annoyance of others waiting. It's an absolute shambles that border run by shady mafia types. Later my Cambodian g/f said the"IO" asked her if I had done the scammy health check. I'm wondering if that's the reason the bloke walked away when I got to the window??

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