Bribes allegedly grease the wheels for Chinese truckers at backed-up Laos border gate

Frustration grows among Lao drivers waiting in long lines as their Chinese counterparts skip ahead.
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Bribes allegedly grease the wheels for Chinese truckers at backed-up Laos border gate A long line of trucks on Laos' Route 13, which leads north to the Chinese border, is seen in this file photo.

Chinese truck drivers at the Lao-Chinese border are bribing traffic police in Laos to skip extremely long lines of trucks that are waiting to get into China, Lao truck drivers told RFA.

COVID-19 protocols in China are causing major delays at the border. Only 150-200 trucks from either side are able to pass over in a day. RFA reported last month that the trucks must be sprayed three times within 20 minutes of crossing as part of an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19, and the gate is only open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m..

At one point there were more than a thousand trucks on the Lao side at the Boten border gate, and fights were breaking out between drivers over their spots in line.

Lao authorities are now giving priority to drivers who give them a little extra cash, a Lao trucker, who had been waiting in line for more than a week, told RFA’s Lao Service.

“Some Chinese truckers are paying money to the authorities, who will then clear traffic for them. Then they drive past the others and go,” said the trucker, who requested anonymity for safety reasons.

“We can do nothing except wait. Since I’ve been here almost 100 Chinese trucks have totally skipped the line,” he said.

The trucker said that all drivers get a queue number ticket from authorities and are told to wait their turn. But the Chinese truckers are able to just drive through.

“Up until now, we’ve never seen any Chinese being fined for that. We’d like to urge the authorities to look into this problem and solve it. Everyone should comply with the rules,” he said.

Another waiting Lao trucker said that the Chinese truckers don’t seem to care about Lao rules and laws.

“They can just pay the authorities. I’ve been waiting in line for six or seven days now. I’m still far away from the border gate. The line is still long, and the wait is endless.”

One trucker recently took to Facebook to express his anger.

“Everyone else wants to go too. All our trucks have been stuck for days. Some people say the owners of the trucks carrying watermelons can pay kickbacks to the traffic police and they are allowed to go through. I am therefore calling on the upper-level authorities to come up here and see what’s happening,” he wrote.

A Lao official at the Boten border gate told RFA that trucks move according to their placement in line. Line skippers are detained and fined, the official said.

“We don’t have a policy that favors Chinese drivers over Lao drivers. We have rules to follow,” the official said. “Before, there might have been some cases of line skipping, but now we’ve improved the situation and the trucks are moving through faster, but according to their queue numbers.”

Laos President Thongloun Sisoulith visited Luang Namtha province last week and told provincial authorities that he would discuss the congestion with Prime Minister Phankham Viphavanh.

The president said he wanted to see the problem solved because it was hindering exports to China.

Translated by Max Avary. Written in English by Eugene Whong.


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World Watcher
Feb 16, 2022 09:37 PM

Lao Government are not working for Lao people They are puppet and they are not Lao