Crossing Cambodia

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?
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