Crossing Cambodia

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Next up! Overloaded vehicles at the mercy of traffic police

'Police to fine overload vehicles'. That's the lead from an article originally published on the site. A KI Media translation with a first comment can be found here. The article:
General Touch Naruth, the Phnom Penh city police chief, issued an order to traffic police who patrol along the many locations in the city streets to stop and issue a fine citation to commercial vehicles which are overloading its top. The overloading causes disorder and also creates traffic accident. Touch Naruth told the Kampuchea Thmei newspaper on Tuesday, that his police force has stopped cars transporting over its limit on a daily basis, and that each car was previously fined 20,000 riels (~$5) if the car owner does not respect the (traffic) directive. Touch Naruth said that commercial cars transporting numerous items on its roof will be stopped, and they will no longer be tolerated from now on. The Phnom Penh city police commissioner said that the first infraction will be fined 20,000 riels, and if the same car is stopped for a second time, the car and the owner will be taken to the police station where they will be more severely fined, and the car business license will be revoked for ever.
At least this time the intentions seem to be right. Overloading leads to heightened safety risk, due to a different point of balance of the vehicle and the fact that the vehicle becomes more difficult to steer. Additionally, overloaded vehicles increase the wear and tear of the (few) national highways. And there's always the chance that you fall off the roof!

But safety doesn't seem to be the ultimate intent of this new municipal 'order'. The ongoing drive to 'order' or beautify the (inner) city seems to be the driving force. Ultimately it means clearing the city of the poor, with little or no consideration to their rights.

What's more, the order is again once unclear. This leads to the police using more of their rights. What is overloaded? Why only 'commercial' vehicles? Why focus only on the roof? How is there to be a system whereby previous offenders can be traced? Traffic police will determine the offense, not the law?

Probably the issue will disappear within a month as have all other (local) decrees / orders. In the meantime the less rich will be forced to travel to the outskirts of the city, after which they can get on their overloaded vehicles! Nothing really happens ...

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