Crossing Cambodia

Monday, February 26, 2007

Creativity I

In combating the at best 'irregular' Cambodian traffic scene the government of Cambodia is increasingly using creativity.

It has been mentioned quite often that, despite all vehicles required to drive on the right hand side, there are a great many cars (including police cars) with the steering wheel on the wrong side: being the right side. This certainly does not ensure traffic safety and in the past the government has refrained from registering these vehicles (for this reason apparently).

But just over half a year ago this policy was reversed: better to earn money from these unsafe vehicles than putting a policy in place which will eventually result in these right hand-drives being banned altogether. Enforcing the ban would not seem to be such an effort either, or would it?

Well, the source of these right hand steering vehicles is Thailand; there they drive on the left, so that looks quite logical. And in Thailand there are no vehicles with the steering wheel on the wrong side, let their be no doubt about it.

But the Cambodian PM Hun Sen seems to sense the problem. At least that's what's in today's (February 26, 2007) Cambodian Daily. Well, actually Hun Sen believes that smuggling is the problem, not that the smuggling would lead to unsafe traffic situations. Smuggling is bad apparently because it provides illegal organisations outside the governments' official (and unofficial) reach of funds. The blame for the smuggling lies with Thailand apparently:
'If authorities on the Thai side cannot control the smuggling it will be a disaster for both sides', Hun Sen said.
Can't the Cambodian side control smuggling? Like the fuel smuggling.
'He also warned that Cambodian officials involved in the smuggling to change their ways or risk losing their positions'.
Not so long ago this nearly happened. But what about imprisonment, surely 'losing their positions' is not a sufficient deterrent?
'Hun Sen said more than 1,400 right hand-drive cars were smuggled into Cambodia from Thailand last year'.
According to who?
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