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Three Men Arrested for Shipping Plastic Waste into Cambodia.

Issued: 20 September 2002

Three men have been arrested for illegally shipping plastic bags and other garbage into Cambodia in the latest crackdown on the importation of banned waste, officials said this week. Police discovered more than 64 tons of plastic waste hidden in five shipping containers during a raid on a Phnom Pehn dock on Tuesday. The convicts are likely to be charged with the maximum penalty; a fine of 50 million riel (US$12,650) or one year sentence or both.

It is said that the latest waste products were shipped from Shanghai, China, and arrived last week at Cambodia's main seaport of Sihanoukville. However, it was not clear whether the shipment originated in China. Authorities will conduct tests to determine if the waste contained toxic substances, the pollution control office at Cambodia's Environment Ministry will be in charge of that.

Cambodia once experienced being a place for dumping wastes in 1998. At that time, a shipment of 3,000 tons of toxic waste from Taiwan was discovered dumped near Sihanoukville, causing an international scandal and riots of residents nearby. Upon the riot, 4 people were killed in traffic accidents in the exodus. Another two mysteriously died after handling the waste. The waste was re-exported afterwards, and a Cambodian businessman was fined and jailed for seven months.


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