Crossing Cambodia

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Traffic Extortion Hotline

It seems the Phnom Penh Municipality is going high-tech. It is launching a traffic extortion hotline according to an article on KI Media, which is a copy of today's (September 12, 2006) Cambodia Dialy article.
In the absence of a clear law and order situation the municipal police have been conducting night time roadblocks to find offenders of mostly administrative offences, i.e. driving without license plates and failure to prove payment of import duties. The offenders' vehicles are impounded and fines need to be paid of between US$50 and US$200. Despite the clarity regarding the offences (where in the world are you allowed to drive without license plate?) and the fact that the police are policing (for a change), the level of fines seems to be the main sticking point. Are the fines extortion?
There is of course no law backing these fines and, as such, probably the (unofficial) proceeds fail to flow upwards. But now, the municipal police's overseers are cracking down on this practice despite the police pointing out that due to the night time checks crime rates had dropped.

Separately, there seems to be more and more questions raised concerning policing the new traffic law once it get's passed. Possibly, there might be too many issues rendering enforcing these useless and as such the law might become useless as well. A step-by-step approach?

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