Tag Archives: border

Wildlife In Sights: Pressures On Iconic Tiger, Elephant Draws Media Attention To Challenges Facing Laos

Tiger & Elephant Populations Under Local, Regional, Global Pressure: Laos biodiversity in the international media spotlight.

With the release of a major UN report on biodiversity loss, the state of and threats to wildlife worldwide and in hotspots like Laos including iconic species like the tiger and elephant draw more international media attention, The Laotian Times reports.

The most comprehensive ever completed, the UN Report IPBES Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services found Nature’s Dangerous Decline ‘Unprecedented’; Species Extinction Rates ‘Accelerating’ 

The efforts of one award-winning wildlife defender to shed light on the plight of animals kept at illegal tiger farms posing as zoos in Laos was covered by the Washington Post.

Emaciated Tiger (Washington Post)

Emaciated Tiger (Washington Post)

“They all want hope and happy endings,” The Washington Post quotes Swiss conservationist Ammann as saying of many well-meaning yet naive folk at home and around the world.

“And I don’t see any happy endings. I can’t create fiction from what I see as fact,” 

Alleged Tiger Trader Nikhom Keovised (Washington Post)

Alleged Tiger Trader Nikhom Keovised (Washington Post)

Meanwhile, pachyderms were the focus of coverage by US-based National Public Radio (NPR) ‘A Million Elephants’ No More: Conservationists In Laos Rush To Save An Icon.

“The national government also has a reputation of being supportive of elephant conservation efforts across Laos. Within the last 30 years, catching wild elephants and trading wildlife have been banned. Laws severely restrict the logging industry in its use of elephants. Yet, despite these efforts, “if current trajectories continue there will be no elephants left in Laos by the year 2030,” NPR quoted an article co-written by Chrisantha Pinto, an American biologist at the center, as saying.

Challenges Facing Laos' Wildlife including Iconic Tigers and Elephants (NPR)

Challenges Facing Lao’ Wildlife including Iconic Tigers and Elephants (NPR)

The challenges facing the planet, its plants and animals are real.

What Would Buddha Do?

With a biodiversity hotspot like Laos under pressure from regional and global pressures brought by unsustainable human activity and law-breaking, it’s time to get serious about enforcing the rule of law to protect what natural beauty the country has left for the next generations of our and all species.

Laos, Cambodia PMs Agree To Continue Joint Patrols in Disputed Area

Border Discussion as Cambodia PM Hun Sen Visits Laos

The governments of Laos and Cambodia have agreed in Vientiane to continue efforts to de-escalate tensions in a disputed border area.

The agreement was made during Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen’s visit to Vientiane yesterday at the invitation of Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith.

Thongloun said Laos highly valued the visit of Hun Sen and his delegation as a significant contribution to enhancing relationship and cooperation between the two countries in all areas.

The two prime ministers also presided over the signing ceremony of documents on education, cultural and art cooperation, among others.

During their meeting, both sides agreed to an ongoing prohibition on various activities in the disputed border areas with a view to future resolution.

At a press conference shortly after the bilateral talks, Thongloun said both sides reaffirmed their intention to enhance the long-standing friendly relations, cooperation and solidarity between the two countries in the spirit of mutual respect and interests.

The Lao and Cambodian leaders reiterated that Kengtomokhoy-Huaytangao area is an unresolved area where no military forces are expected to be present, no people are expected to live or do business.

The area must be patrolled together by both sides using land, water and arial (drone) means.

The latest visit follows ongoing discussions that have been held to reduce tensions in the long-running dispute that flared up in August 2017 after which Mr Hu. The pair have also met regularly at ASEAN meets including in this year’s host, Singapore.

Official demarcation of the boundary between the two nations has not yet been fully completed since their liberation from colonial rule, and tiffs over border locations have been common in the past, the Laotian Times reported in 2017.

Photo: Lao Post

Thailand May Reinstate Land Border Entry for Expats in Neighboring Countries

Thailand Visas

Could the cross-border retail and recreation-related dreams of foreign expatriates, non-diplomats and other non-Lao-non-ASEAN-passport-holding residents in Laos be about to come true across the Mekong in Thailand once again visa-free?

Laos’ near neighbour is reportedly considering removing the restrictions on land border entry affecting foreign expatriates in neighbouring countries including Laos for an initial period of two months, both The Nation and Bangkok Post reported on November 14.

Bangkok Post's List of Planned Changes includes a proposed lift on restrictions affecting expatriate residents of Laos.

Bangkok Post’s List of Planned Changes includes a proposed lift on restrictions on land border entry, potentially improving connectivity for expatriate residents of Laos.

The move would loosen restrictions that have been in place since December 31, 2016 as reported by Laotian Times.

The reported move from the country’s cabinet Tuesday comes amid efforts by Thailand’s policymakers to attract more visitor arrivals.

Other proposed measures also include double-entry visas for six months and special discounts at Thai malls under the “Amazing Thailand Grand Sale: Passport Privileges” campaign that continues from November 15 to January 15, 2019.

Since the start of 2017, limits on land border entry have affected foreign non-ASEAN passport holding expatriates (including those eligible to a visa-waiver), restricting them to just two single visa-free entries on arrival via the country’s land border points per year.

It remains to be seen whether the mooted liberalization will come in the form of carving out an exemption for foreign expatriates or result in the removal of the two-times-per-year land border entry restriction entirely.

Either way, a loosening on the restriction is likely to be welcome news, particularly to those for whom visa application processes and fees have proved onerous enough to prevent them from regularly visiting otherwise accessible destinations located on the far side of mighty Mekong.

Thai Visas

Cambodian Troops Begin Live-fire Drills at Laos Border

Cambodian Troops Train Laos Border

Cambodian troops stationed on the border with Laos commenced live-fire drills yesterday, just six months after a flare-up caused severe border tensions between the two countries.

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen created Infantry Brigade 128 last August after a confrontation with the Lao military. The brigade is now using live mortars as part of special training alleged to improve skills and defend territorial integrity.

According to reports in the Phnom Penh Post, the Lao side was informed of the drills prior to commencement.

Troops from Laos were accused of crossing the border into Cambodian territory amid a dispute over road construction. This sparked the public announcement of an ultimatum, requesting Laos withdraw its troops within six days or suffer the consequences.

The border dispute was peacefully resolved, however, when Prime Minister Hun Sen flew to Laos to engage in talks upon invitation by Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith.

Many experts claim that the entire episode has been nothing more than political games, with the Cambodian Prime Minister attempting to fan the flames of nationalism amid the looming Cambodian general elections, due in July this year.

 

Source: Phnom Penh Post

Thai Border Officials Get Tough on Borrowed Vehicles

Thai-Border-Crossing-Restricts-Borrowed-Cars

Thai authorities at the Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge border crossing are cracking down on borrowed vehicles.

According to a sign recently erected at the bridge, from 1 January 2018, any vehicle crossing into Thailand from Laos that is driven by an individual who is not the vehicle’s owner must provide documentation authorizing use of the vehicle.

Thai border sign borrowed vehicles

Documentation required will include a power of attorney signed by the owner of the vehicle, and the following supporting documentation:

1. A copy of vehicle registration documents

2. A copy of the identification card of the vehicle owner

3. A copy of the idenification card of the person using the vehicle

Further documentation will be required for persons using vehicles belonging to a business or organization.

The new regulations come on the heels of Thai authorities’ new “ASEAN Road Toll,” which imposes a fee upon foreign vehicles entering the country and using its roads.

On top of this, the Thai immigration authorities imposed new visa restrictions on foreigners from many nations entering the country by land last year, limiting the number of crossings available to only twice per year.

Photo: Facebook

Thai Border to Collect Toll from all Foreign Vehicles

Foreign vehicles entering Thailand by way of border will be expected to pay an ‘Asean road toll’ fee that the country plans to implement by the end of 2018.

Thailand plans to collect the toll from foreign motorists entering the country via border checkpoints due to increased road travel on the Southeast Asian mainland, which has caused frequent road maintenance and safety concerns.

Thailand’s Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning is currently conducting a study on toll collection, which is expected to be completed by year end. It will then take less than a year to gain state approval.

The toll will be applied to foreign four-wheel vehicles passing through 28 border checkpoints, from Myanmar, Malaysia, Cambodia and Laos.

Motorists will pay a 100-baht fee for an electronic tag which will be valid for five years, as well as a toll of 42 baht per trip.

Officials plan to have private companies invest in installing the toll collection system, with the entire project estimated to cost around 525 million THB (over 16 million USD) and employ up to 260 officials.

The office’s deputy chief insists that the tolls are necessary since the establishment of the Asean Economic Community has resulted in more vehicles entering Thailand. Thailand authorities have indicated that the country now has to bear higher costs in road maintenance and road accidents.

According to the Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning office, there were 2.1 million trips made by car through 28 checkpoints last year. Most came from Laos (755,000), followed by Malaysia (596,000), Myanmar (495,000) and Cambodia (322,000).

Statistics show that the Thai government spends on average 15 billion THB on repairing and maintaining roads annually, with most of the damage resulting from heavy goods transportation. Road accidents also cost the country around 2.4 billion THB every year.

Source: The Nation

Laos and Vietnam Bolster Ties on Shared Border

During a conference between the Attapeu and Sekong province chapters of the Lao Front for National Construction and the Kon Tum chapter of the Vietnam Fatherland Front on November 16, both countries reached a consensus on maintaining efforts to build a Vietnam-Laos borderline of peace, friendship and cooperation.

Speaking at the conference, an official of the Vietnam Fatherland Front urged the three provinces’ front organisations to continue coordinating seamlessly in an effort to enhance close cooperation in the implementation of the Vietnam-Laos borderline of peace, friendship, cooperation agreement and development during 2017-2020.

Participants at the event agreed to routinely exchange information and experiences in front work, continue promoting the bilateral friendship and solidarity among local people, particularly those in border districts, and encourage locals to get involved in maintaining security and order in border areas.

Vietnam pledged to coordinate with relevant agencies and businesses in organizing market-days in border areas to introduce its products to Lao locals.

The Attapeu and Sekong provinces shares a 142km border with  Vietnam’s Kon Tum province.

Border Tensions Ease as Cambodia’s PM Flies to Laos for Talks

Border-Dispute-Hun-Sen-vs-Thongloun-Sisoulith

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen flew to Vientiane this morning to meet with Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith and discuss the border dispute near Attapeu that caused panic earlier this week.

Talks are being held at the Prime Minister’s Office, and a press conference is expected to be held to explain the outcome of discussions.

Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith has urged all news agencies to ensure they provide accurate representations of the border dispute, to ensure that the problem will be peaceably resolved.

Hun Sen Arrives in laos

The border dispute has been brewing for some months, with each side making demands of the other.  It came to a head yesterday afternoon as PM Hun Sen issued a warning to the Lao military to leave Cambodian territory. 

It is believed that the Lao military were investigating Cambodian road and bridge construction that may have encroached on Lao territory.

Official demarcation between the two nations has not yet been fully completed, and tiffs over border locations have been common in the past. 

While Hun Sen claimed to have sent a letter to the Lao Prime Minister on August 2, the Lao authorities said they had received no official warning or correspondence.

Nevertheless, both leaders are now peacefully settling the dispute in person.

Laos and Cambodia Together

Photos: Hun Sen Official Facebook Page