Boten SEZ Struggles to Manage Immigration

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2014
Boten international checkpoint.

The Boten Special Economic Zone is facing difficulties with immigration checks due to a lack of municipal authority and investor restrictions.

KPL reports that Head of the Boten Special Economic Zone Public Security Unit, Lt. Sommee Khithixay, said that his unit carries out its security operations under the scope agreed upon by the government. 

Lt. Sommee stated that undertaking immigration and other controls within the Boten Special Economic Zone (SEZ) has been difficult due to restrictions imposed by investors and developers. 

Head of the Boten Special Economic Zone Public Security Unit, Lt. Sommee Khithixay.

Undocumented persons routinely enter and exit the Zone, however, police lack the authority and manpower to adequately police the movement of individuals. 

According to Lt. Sommee, the uncontrolled movement of people between Laos and China through the SEZ increases the risk of illegal activities being conducted in the Zone.

He says the accessibility of permit cards and government procedures for immigrant checks are restricted by investors and developers.

Officials from the Boten-Bohan International Border Checkpoint have discussed the matter in order to find a solution that works for both sides.

The Government of Laos last year approved an expressway project that would link Boten with Bokeo Province, where the infamous Golden Triangle Special Economic Zone is located.

Once complete, the expressway will facilitate travel to and from China and allow visitors to travel easily from the Boten SEZ to the Golden Triangle SEZ.