Crossing Cambodia

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

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...
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