Crossing Cambodia

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Mirror Mania

As posted last week, there has been a sort of mirror mania over the last 7 days. Mention has been made of fines for offenders and there are increasing amount of mirrors to be seen. Usasge however varies. This morning's Lucky Supermarket mirror check, revelaed 6 moto's with both mirrors, 2 with just 1 mirror and 4 moto's with no mirrors at all. All a great increase over last week!

The Cambodia Daily yesterday (28 november 2006) published a letter to the editor which focussed on the long length of time that supposedly takes to get mirrors installation enforced. But clearly the author is not paying sufficient attention.The letter does conclude with:
'In my opinion, installing mirrors alone will not help reduce accidents. Drivers also need helmuts'.

And they also need to know what side of the road to drive on. And heed traffic signs. And refrain from cutting corners. And... Problem is there is enough law in place, but not enough .....

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Curious II

What does this sign, posted along Monivong mean? No parking on even days. Additional info mentions 'odd days', '60 minutes' and bizarrely a symbol for an old fashioned in Cambodia non-existent parking meter. Now when you are in the law enforcement business would it not be advisable to keep the message short and simple? And what is the relevance if everybody is allowed to park on the side-walks?

Curious I

This morning Crossing cambodia checked out the newish situation near the central / new market. At the end of Boulevard Charles de Gaulle, a loop has been created preventing traffic turning in the direction of the market. This photo shows that on the actual point, two signs were put indicated where to go/ where not to go. Possibly the umbrella is meant for someone to add a physical obstruction. Does it help? Not really cars and motorcycles just face more problems.

Khmer customs (?)

A blog entry on the khmer 440 site sums up their impression of Khmer driving skills (or lack thereof ...) Conclusion:

'So road rage is alive and well in Cambodia, maybe I should take a leaf out of the book of our Khmer Government hosts’ and just shoot the bastards that piss me off. After all, everyone keeps telling me that I should respect their culture more…'.
In the same vein contributions have been coming in on the 440 forum site:
'Last Wednesday, within 24 hours I saw 2 major bike crashes happening in front of my eyes'.
Which got me thinking: how fucking difficult can it be to lauch a MAJOR campaign on tv, lets say around the favorite Khmer soap, or the leader's speeches? It's not like traffic regulations are rocket science. Cambodia needs a few rules and things would go a lot safer, not to mention smoother'.(rukker)
'The problem is enforcement. Thanks to corruption, the police, especially the traffic police, are worse than useless. And even more so, since driving habits are partly a social or cultural issue - affecting change here really requires a strong and respected authority, which is not a very accurate description of the police'.(barangbarang)
'Of course you need enforcement. But many Khmers honestly think that their behaviour is ok because that's the way it's developed over many years. Thing is: by now there is so much traffic that things that were going smoothly in the past, now create gridlocks and accidents all over the place'.(rukker)
'I saw an accident on the riverside in front of The Lounge, I believe it was. A guy in a silver Lexus SUV comes out of a side street and turns left onto the riverside(Sisowath Quay) at the same time as another older SUV hits the gas. This was about 1am. The older SUV smashed the back of the Lexus with extensive front-end damage to his SUV and with not as bad damage to the Lexus. I was perplexed as the Lexus owner and friend got out to survey the damage but the other driver and passanger didnt get out. I asked the guy who runs that Mexican restaurant on108 street and he seemed to know the guy driving the lexus. He said the accident was more than the drivers life was worth'.(kimcheemonster)
More accounts of untoward actions and free advise as is often dispensed in this blog.

An interesting development over the last few days has been in the increase of mirrors on motorcycles. Crossing Cambodia has witnessed this first hand and actually seen people buying mirrors! But, as is the case exemplified from the khmer 440 forum site, some enforcement may go astray. Apparently according to this forum posting, police are also persuing legislation enforcement of laws not yet passed ....:

'Alleged fine is 5,000 riel for each missing side view mirror. (...) It felt weird at first having mirrors again, but I like it. Can see the thieves coming now and race off!

Rumour has it the helmet law will be passed in 2 months, although some police are already enforcing it, although it doesnt exist yet'.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Letter to the editor: Road paving

More asphalt, possibly, street 282

Following this weeks article in the Cambodia Daily, today's (23-11-2006) Cambodia Daily Letter to the Editor section Sao Volak vents his ideas:

a. congestion has made traveling in Phnom Penh harder,

b. road improvement seems related to increasing traffic fatalities (no proof provided),

c. accidents occur due to the construction of concrete dividers.

He then suggests that wider roads will lead to less congestion, but fails to delve on the issue brought forward i.e. relation between road improvement projects and increasing fatalities. In the end the letter is very ineffective, the writer fails to bring good arguments: more road gives only temporary reprieve from congestion, there is more need for public transport / mass transport systems. Possibly the problems are as of now not problematic enough...

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


An overview of all traffic signs at ABC driving instructions. Apparently they are there to give a more professional appearance, there are no instruction manuals.

Above the law?

From the KI site an extensive report of a dog (1) which managed to hold up the Cambodian's PM daily procession from his home outside the capital to wherever he deems necessary.

Uncouth dog! You dare cut in front of the PM’s car, get him!!

19 Nov 2006
By Seyha
Salanh Khmer

Translated from Khmer by Socheata

A laughable but yet scary incident occurred when a dog dared cut in front of the car procession of Prime Minister Hun Sen.

The incident occurred north of the roundabout circle in Takhmao city, Kandal province, on Thursday afternoon when Prime Minister Hun Sen’s car fleet returned from Phnom Penh to his secure Tuol Krosaing camp.

Sralanh Khmer witnessed this event at 5:05 PM when Mr. Hun Sen’s car procession led by a siren-blaring car and followed by a swarming number of bodyguard cars sped by. Alongside the road, military police officers and regular police officers are standing shoulder to shoulder to prevent people from crossing the street. A police officer holding a microphone, yelled orders to people not to cross the street in order to prevent any accident to the prime minister. Suddenly, a reddish color dog ran cut in front of the police officer trying to cross the street. Hearing the loud voice of the officer from the microphone, the dog was startled and stopped in the middle of the street, undecided what to do next. Meanwhile the prime minister’s car procession arrived, and it was forced to abruptly brake in order not to hit the uncouth dog who does not know the traffic rules and who is not afraid of the prime minister’s car procession.

Seeing this, the police officer who was holding the microphone to yell at people not to cross the street at the arrival of Mr. Hun Sen’s car procession, started to yell loudly: “Stop, stop, you uncouth dog … Get him! Get him! Get him! Don’t let it get away.” The dog, hearing this, turned around and crossed in front of the row of police officers. The police officer with the microphone, very angry with the entire ordeal, yelled: “Get him! Get him! Get that uncouth dog which dares cut in front of Samdech Prime Minister Hun Sen’s car procession.” Nevertheless, they could not catch the dog which ran too fast and escaped.

Meanwhile, the traffic was at a standstill, people waiting in the traffic were laughing at the police officer. They said that this dog is lucky, if it were to be a human being, and that person would dare cut in front of Samdech Hun Sen’s car procession like the dog did, that person would be accused of being a terrorist wanting to assassinate Mr. Hun Sen for sure. The would-be traffic cutter would have been arrested, handcuffed and sent to spend time in Prey Sar jail without any question asked.

People living along the road from Phnom Penh to Takhmao used by Mr. Hun Sen’s car procession, are very bothered by this procession because each time the procession passed by, traffic is stopped by police officers and bodyguards. Furthermore, the siren sound is blaring very loudly. That was why people are happy about the lucky fate of the dog who dared cut across Mr. Hun Sen’s car procession on Thursday afternoon.

Not only is traffic closed when the prime minister leave his Tuol Krosaing home to attend the council of ministers’ meetings, but he also orders the traffic closed when he needs to go out to play golf. People were very frightful for the dog’s fate when they saw it cutting across the prime minister’s car procession. They are now happy to see the dog came out unscathed and caused a lot of commotion to the police officers instead.

Kep Chuktekma, Phnom Penh governor, used to say that dog meat is delicious, and he even told Phnom Penh city dwellers to eat dog meat. Therefore, if the angry police officers were to call and tell Mr. Kep Chuktekma by phone, he would never pardon this daring dog.

Traffic signs: no parking on (un)even days

A signboard implying that it is forbidden to park on this side of the street on uneven days, the first, third, fifth, seventh, etc.) Just the one car not staying on the right side of the law.


Motorcycles parking at the Sihanouk Boulevard Lucky Market store. Despite the intentions of the municipality, there is no sudden rush for mirrors. Of the 26 motorcycles, 1 had both mirrors, two had 1 mirror and the rest had no mirror. Law enforcement?

Monday, November 20, 2006

In Phnom Penh Post Police blotter an overview of incidents mentioned in Khmer newspapers in the past 2 weeks:
  • 1 injured (chopped several times), 1 moto stolen
  • 1 dead (shot), 1 moto stolen
  • 1 injured 9shot in the arm), 1 moto stolen
  • 1 injured (shot in the head), 1 motorbike stolen
  • 1 injured (chopped on the head), 1 moto stolen?, 3 arrested
Law enforcement?

Sound Bites ?

On Sunday a ceremony was conducted to mark UN's World day of Remembrance for traffic accident victims. Again it was used to highlight the increasing number of traffic deaths in Cambodia. An article in today's Cambodian Daily (November 20, 2006) quotes the director of the Phnom Penh municipal Red Cross office (Chhoeng Ngan):

'The high death rate [should it not be the increasing death rate, high implies some kind of comparison, CC] is due to the fact that many Cambodian motorists are unfamiliar with or disobey traffic regulations'.
True as may be, in most countries governments protect traffic participants from each other and/or from themselves by drafting laws and making sure the law is enforced. Just yesterday I witnessed a car crashing into a motorbike on street 51, where the car should have stopped (there was a big stop sign). Why can the current feeble attempts at regulating traffic not be enforced?

On a postive note the same periodical mentioned that a senior provincial police officer arrested his son who was accused of shooting a student in class. This in spite of a sudden lack of witnesses....


Friday, November 17, 2006

Traffic law will crack down on ...

Police without helmets

Novel ways to 'reduce traffic'

In today's (November 17) Cambodian Daily, an article on the widening of Phnom Penh's main road, the Russian Federation Boulevard. Three meters on each side. Phnom Penh's Municipal Governor Kep Chuktema 'expects the enlargment will reduce 50 % of the traffic jams along this boulevard'. The article then quotes the Governor that 'there were unfunded plans to pave all unpaved streets in Phnom Penh to further reduce traffic'.

Well let's say that last quote was a typing mistake, more asfalt attracts more traffic, streets getting wider results only in a shift in the traffic jams.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Traffic Law (continued)

An extensive article in today's (November 15, 2006) Cambodia Daily about the ongoings of the draft Traffic Law. Hopefully, if you are interested in the complete article, some other blogger will post it...

Previously, Crossing Cambodia reported on this back in September. The article suggests that possibly as of next week the traffic law could be passed by the parliament, Cambodia's National Assembly. Some caution remains: When the law is passed, the ministry will focus on educating traffic police about the enforcement of the law. How long will that take, optimistically a couple of months?

Anyway the article also highlights the increasing traffic accident situation. It also mentions:
'unofficial figures show that there has been "enormous growth" in the number of vehicles in Cambodia".

Bump 'em (continued)!

In today's (November 15, 2006) Cambodia Daily a short report about a top adviser for prime minister Hun Sen who was 'rear-ended' on the Russian Federation Boulevard, for no apparent reason. The adviser then approached the offender but when the offender 'reached threateningly into his trouser pocket' the adviser retreated, which in light of several incidents in the past weeks seems to be quite sensible.
The report finishes with a quotation from an army general, whose roll seems unclear (he's a former head of military intelligence and current deputy director of the Apsara Authority, a government organisation which is managing Angkor Wat):
'Many government departments concerned ... had no leads yet in the case'.
Is this an example of anarchy?

Here is a link to the full article.

Traffic signs: one way, no entry

Street 63 from the central market to Sihanouk Boulevard is a one way street.This sign implies that vehicles should not drive into this street as it is a one way street.

Effective? In a 5 minute burst just before 10.00 am this morning, 1 car, 20 motorcycles, 1 cyclo and 2 bicycles drove up street 63 in the wrong direction. In considering these figures one must note that there are regularly traffic police standing on the crossroad with Sihanouk Boulevard (there's a big tree giving ample shade), so there is some caution with drivers to disregard this sign. At the same time there were roughly 25 cars and 175 motorcycles using street 63 in the correct direction, which also makes it physically difficult to drive in the wrong direction.

Conclusion, this traffic sign is regarded as a indication, not as a directive. Law enforcement?

Highway robbery?

From the Cambodian Newspapers Kampuchea Thmey and Samleng Yuvachun translated on the KI site:
The local firm Sarla has been accused of conspiring with Takeo provincial authorities to set up a detour to collect illegal tolls on a section of National Road 2 that stretches from the province to the Vietnamese border, newspapers report.

The company reportedly charges 2,500 riel to 10,000 riel (US$0.60 to US$2.40) based on the type of vehicle for use of a 500-meter detour it built in Lorry village, Daun Keo district, reports Kampuchea Thmey. The company has allegedly constructed a two-meter barrier on the section to force drivers onto the detour.

Hundreds of residents, businesspeople and vehicle owners have thumb printed a complaint to Prime Minister Hun Sen over the money extortion, according to the newspaper.

Drivers lament that the detour is not necessary as the government has completed renovation of the road section with a grant from the Japanese government, and that Sarla should have built the detour before the renovation, writes Samleng Yuvachun Khmer.

The newspaper describes the company as doing business like “making a cake without flour.”

The two newspapers fail to report any reactions from provincial or company officials.

Comment: strange things happen, but Crossing Cambodia does not fully comprehend the situation at hand. Is it really that a company blocks a major highway and demands toll...

Friday, November 10, 2006

Our Lao reporter

An article from the Lao State press agency. Apparently they are trying to reduce accidents there as well. Same problems, drunk driving.

Road accidents go on claim lives of Vientiane resident

(KPL) Despite the number of road accidents decreased in Vientiane last week, the road accidents continue to claim lives of Vientiane’s residents.
This is according to the record of Vientiane Traffic Police Station (VTPS) showed that there was two people died caused accidents, out of 34 cases of accidents occurred from 16 to 22 October.
“The last two weeks, the figure of accidents have had 42 cases caused three people died, counting for over 130 million kip of damaged cost compared to last week figure went down”, said a senior police of VTPS.
The main cause of accidents occurred in Vientiane is attributed to road users violated traffic rule and drunk and driving. The accidents in Vientiane usually occurred with motorbikes.
The accidents like to happen during holiday or in the weekend, 6 to 9 pm because people drunk in this period.
The students are not the main group related the accidents but it is a group of workers and civil servant. The Sikhottabong and Xaysettha districts are the top of accidents happened.

Update on petrol prices

A slightly older article posted ion the KI site originally reported from Agence Presse in Vietnam. Apparently it's not all small-timers involved in the smuggling of fuel:

HANOI, Vietnam(AP) - Authorities in southern fined three Cambodians for smuggling more than 6,000 liters of diesel out of the country, a border official said Tuesday.

The smugglers from Kampot province in southern Cambodiawere intercepted last week in Vietnamese waters with 6,300 liters (1,660 gallons) of diesel in their boat, said Nguyen Huu Tai, the deputy chief of Xa Xia border checkpoint in Kien Giang province.

The government of Kien Giang fined the Cambodians 2.2 million dong (US$140; euro110) each on Monday for illegal entry and illegally transporting goods across the border, Tai said.

The men were released Monday after paying their fines, he said.

Vietnam estimates that hundreds of thousands of liters of fuel are smuggled into Cambodia daily, causing substantial losses to Vietnam's government which heavily subsidizes the price of fuel.

Diesel is about 5,000 dong (31 U.S. cents; 24 EU cents) cheaper per liter in Vietnam than Cambodia, Tai said.

"It's impossible for us to completely control the fuel smuggling because the border is long and we have a shortage of staff," Tai said.

The Vietnamese government is expected to pay 12.8 trillion dong (US$800 million; euro621 million) in fuel subsidies this year.

Vietnam exports crude oil, but imports refined oil products. Its first oil refinery is under construction in central province of Quang Ngai.

National highway?

Despite Siem Reap being the major tourist attraction of Cambodia and Thai being one of the most avid visitors the road between Siem Reap and the border, a national highway, continues to be a huge eyesore. Here's a report via KI from Pattaya News.
From Phnom Penh municipality a message of congratulations to themselves for fixing a potholed thoroughfare, street 63.

Update: price of life

An update on yesterday's accident report in which an Acleda Bank director managed to kill 2 two people as well as cause four accidents. Apparently the victim's families will receive just under 1000 $US. Both Acleda Bank and the local police seems to be getting the idea that this was a serious incident. Two links: DAS and KI.

Update 2: The culprit is fit enough (from what? a severe headache?):
Accused Hit-and-Run Driver To Return to Work
Monday, November 13, 2006

By Douglas Gillison

An Acleda Bank manager accused of a series of hit-and-run crashes that left two people dead in Battambang province is due to return to work today, the bank's General Manager In Channy said Sunday. Police allege that Sok Chanrithy, director of Acleda's branches in Battambang and Pailin municipality, was drunk when he crashed his speeding vehicle four times Nov 4. Sok Chanrithy has been on vacation since the alleged incident, In Channy said. The bank will compare Sok Chanrithy’s report on the incident with the police report before deciding what to do about the case, he said. He declined to say whether Sok Chanrithy could be fired. Sok Chanrithy could not be reached for comment.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

From the press: supporting the traffic police

From today's (November 9, 2006) Cambodia Daily the front page story entitled: Lack of respect Plagues Capital Traffic Police. The article describes how everybody in Phnom Penh tends to disregard the traffic police. Handicap International spokesperson claims :
'the population has a lack of respect for police'.
And :
'they make fun of police'.
The chief of municipal traffic police claims:
'they [traffic police] perform a valuable public service'.
The article then goes to exemplify the traffic police's problems with an unsuccessful case of trying to fine a government employee who missed a red light. They apparently are only able to apprehend 1 in 5 of the offenders and of those they do apprehend only 1 in 10 pays a fine.
A sorry state of affairs?

Then the article starts to get derailed:
'four traffic policemen ... said that the money that everyone sees them taking from drivers are in fact donations; acts of generosity by the public'.
The aforementioned chief then explains that the fine amounts are 2.50 $US for cars and half price for motorcycles, but these can also vary due to the severity of the violation,
'Please feel pity for them [traffic police]'
he concludes the article.

Well, Crossing Cambodia doubts that there are many takers for the pity story. Claimshave been made as to the willingness of traffic police to fine the lesser vindicators, i.e. those not in a shiny car. Offenders have been fined for ' driving with lights on', which seems to be against Cambodian common sense. What happened to leading by example?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Innovation please

From neighboring Saigon this report in the Vietnam News of 16 October,2004!:

Traffic cameras in HCM City catch more than 4,000 in act

HCM CITY — Cameras have caught 4,208 traffic violators since being posted at roundabouts and intersections around HCM City on September 10, with motorcyclists accounting for 81 per cent of the total.

Police said 46 per cent of violations involve wrong way travelling along one-way streets. Other violations include speeding, running red lights and overloading motorbikes with passengers or cargo.

"Violators of traffic regulations must be fined heavily and vehicles must be temporarily seized," said Nguyen Van Dua, Deputy Chairman of HCM City’s People’s Committee.

Offenders received pictures of the violations at their homes; violators have paid 27.5 per cent of the fines issued, ranging from VND50,000 to 100,000. "This shows the initial success of the city’s new plan to reduce traffic violations," Dua said at a meeting on Tuesday in which he reviewed the one-month use of traffic cameras in the city.

To step up the fight against traffic violations further, Dua urged traffic police and cameramen to regularly patrol small streets, one way streets and areas with new traffic re-direction plans.

He said raising traffic safety and awareness of regulations, while encouraging people to observe traffic rules, is key to keeping the streets safe.

This week, cameras will be installed in areas where daredevils often organise motorbike races, and on national highway black spots where there are a high number of accidents.

"Fines will also be imposed on pedestrians and cyclists caught violating traffic regulations," Dua said.

The city People’s Committee approved the instalment of 22 new cameras in the city’s intersections. This month, the city will invest VND7.7 billion (US$490,000) to put cameras in operation.

HCM City’s authorities are determined to reduce traffic accidents by 40 per cent this year, using cameras and several other drastic measures.

The city, as well as reducing accidents, aims to cut traffic congestion by 50 per cent in specific areas, and get rid of inner city racing.

"Thanks to law enforcement and increased driver responsibility, the number of accidents dropped by 20 per cent in HCM City last month," said director of the municipal Transport and Public Works, Ha Van Dung.

The National Committee for Traffic Safety reported 74 fewer road accident casualties in September than in August. Nearly 1,200 accidents occurred nation-wide last month, leaving 869 people dead and 963 others injured. — VNS


  • So in Saigon there is also no preference for one way roads
  • What has happened since?
  • Why is this not taking place here?

On pricing petrol

As promised Crossing Cambodia returns to an earlier article originally from the Phnom Penh Post on pricing policy of petrol.

In short while the world price of oil is dropping (25% off the mid-July peak), the price of petrol in Cambodia is not decreasing. The article then goes on to allege possible corruption in the fuel supply industry in Cambodia. It reefers to opposition leader and former minister of Finance, Sam Rainsy, who alleges that importers do not pay taxes to the government but do charge taxes from consumers. Additionally he points out that the amount of petrol being imported has not changed since 1992 / 1993, though the number of vehicles has increased many-fold. Unnamed officials at the Ministry of Commerce confirms that there is an import tax on petrol. They also suspect a discrepancy between what is officially imported and that what is being consumed, possibly due to illegal imports from Thailand / Vietnam. Rainsy even alleges that the army might be in the game.

If anything is clear from this article it is that it is not clear. Petrol in Cambodia is sold through petrol stations. The main players are Tela and Sokimex from Cambodia and foreign controlled operations such as Caltex, Total, Shell, Petronas and PTT. Besides this there are numerous smaller pumps on every street corner (esp. in Phnom Penh) selling from hand-pumps and from the bottle! These smaller pumps are very popular despite questions about the quality of supply andsafety isues. The reason is that they charge roughly 25% less. Now how is this possible? Partly this is because there is a lot of small scale smuggling from Vietnam where subsidies ensure that the price there is a third cheaper than in Cambodia. Vietnam is very motivated to stop this smuggling but says that the Mekong Delta is very difficult to police. Possibly there is some collusion of local officials both sides of the border to assist the smugglers. What's more surprising is that it is even officially known that most of these street stalls sell illegally imported fuel, that the fuel quality is questionable and that all this fuel on the side of the street is not enhancing public safety, despite all this nothing is being done about it. The bad news is that Vietnam wants to get rid of the subsidies!

So what about the official data? Cambodia's Ministry of Commerce simply does not publish import statistics just export data. Both from World Bank and ADB web sites it is impossible to find the current level of fuel importation, again both focussing on exporting. So we have to do with the data supplied in the article. In 1993 100,000 tons of petrol were imported (Rainsy) . In 2005 Cambodia imported '19,780 tons of gasoline and diesel'. So official statistics record a drop of 80% in nearly 12 years! Despite for instance the number of officially registered vehicles increasing the past year by 140% (Crossing Cambodia August 2006 with reference to an article in The Phnom Penh Post). So something is going on. The general public are being scammed by some unscroupolous persons, how come?

From the press: Road Rage Cambodian Style

Today's (November 8, 2006) Cambodia Daily publishes two articles highlighting outrage in traffic. The first article (Reckless Driving Leaves Two Killed and Six Hurt) highlights how a director of a respected Cambodian bank managed to cause 4 accidents in succession while driving his Toyota 4 runner. He knocked two motorcycles and two bicycles, 'intoxicated'. He was now apparently negotiating compensation! With help of the police and the 'respected' bank.

The second article (3 Shot, Injured During Dispute Between Drivers) describes how another intoxicated Toyota driver halted in the middle of a intersection in the middle of the capital for no apparent reason. A following Toyota Camry driver horned his disapproval and was pelted with stones from the first car. Thereupon, two men stepped from the Camry and shot the offenders. Luckily they were just around the corner from a clinic. The police are still investigating the case.

Full story plus comments in DAS site.

Do these examples illustrate anarchy, lawlessness of the Cambodian traffic?

Letters to the editor:

Stan who occasionally publishes on khmer440 trying to gain notierity as a man who prefers walking, now has taken on the cause for public transport in Phnom Penh. Is he getting tired?
From todays (November 8, 2006) Cambodia Daily letter to the editor section, Stan Kahn describes how the bus he was travelling in back from Kampot could not /would not make it pass the Phnom Penh airport. On-going travel required motorcycles as ther are no pubblic buses in Phnom Penh. He laments that this cost him $US 5, whereas in Bangkok the cost would have been 3% of this and in Saigon 6%, if using public transport. As well it would ease traffic. So he concludes, why not start a mini-bus system?

Traffic signs: no parking

A no parking sign on road 63. What does it mean? It means no parking. Officials have added to that the times when it is not allowed which included the time (9.00 in the morning ) in which I took this photo. Just three violators over the 50 m stretch where it is forbidden.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


After a week long sojourn in Thailand Crossing Cambodia is back. Back to the basic question when starting this blog.What makes Cambodia different?
Coming from the airport one realizes that there are relatively many motorcycles with quite a few persons per motorcycle. Little consensus on where they should be riding on the road, on the right, middle or left? And what are they transporting. They are often carrying heavy loads or 5m long water pipes, or steel rods.
What's more there is total disregard for rules. Crossing Cambodia's taxi driver twice could not resist the temptation to cut a corner by speeding through a service station. And he wasn't the only one!
So was Chiang Mai so different? It was more relaxed, more polite. Still motorcycles drove on the wrong side of the road, but no cutting corners. Not many helmets but early morning (=misty)many motorcycles were driving with the lights on. In Cambodia this is a possible fine.

Letter to the editor

From today's (November 7, 2006) Cambodian Daily a letter to the editor with a persuasive argument to improve unmarked median strips.
However, marking median strips would hardly rank high on the possible measures needed to increase safety of Cambodian traffic. The unfortunate circumstance that a foreigner died in Sihanouk hardly warrants this specific measure. Much more needs to be done.

What's happened the past week

Well what's been happening during the past week? From the Khmer Intelligence site:

2 Beaten, One Shot by VIP Bodyguards. Police has not invistigated the case yet as the victims are afraid to file a complaint

An article about three unfortunate persons who managed to collide with a 'not-to-be-messed-with' Mercedes driver. Justice coming?

Cambodia To Build Rail Link With Malaysian Tracks Soon

Second hand rails not deemed good enough for Malaysia gifted to Cambodia to a stretch where the rails have disappeared. Will this result in an improvement?

Record-high fuel prices defy oil's drop

A story that Crossing Cambodia will follow up in the coming week(s?). Basically prices can go up but not down.

M'sian firm Muhibbah commercial involvement in Cambodia

An in depth story into a Malaysian company that has teamed up with a French company to create a monopoly on airport services in Cambodia.

Ferry Director, Accused of Fraud, Denies Charges

And then an older story about a ferry director accused of using the services budget to line his / her own pocket.
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