Crossing Cambodia

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Chasing Cars Cambodian Style,12 November 2007

  • Gasoline prices soar?
    'Prices at Phnom Penh's Chevron (former Caltex), Sokimex, Total and Tela stations jumped to 4,450 riel (about 1.1 U.S. dollars) Monday from 4,050 riel (about one dollars) per liter for "premium" gasoline, the Cambodia Daily newspaper said'.
    Well, what's surprising is that local vendors, seen yesterday, charge 3100 - 3300 Riel, roughly 25% less! So, no wonder the official pumps are never busy.
    One reason for the price rises which the article fails to reflect, is that due to the dollarisation of the local Cambodian economy, all price rises in the world market price for oil, are automatically met by price rises at the pump in Cambodia, though in most countries this has been off-set with the current weakening of the US dollar, which means that in neighbouring countries petrol is becoming relatively cheaper which in turn leads to more smuggling.
  • Naturally, the opposition seized on the increase in fuel prices to lambast government, even blaming the government for:
    'The price of gasoline has nearly tripled this year, ...'.
    Problem is that this is not true or have I been sleeping? Thanx to KIMedia and VOA.
  • Talking about elections: Hun Sen sees his new opposition in the increasing number of street racers. What will he do? Hun Sen said:
    “Some kids have all the time they need, and they even have the money but they turn around and race cars and motorcycles instead, and in doing so they create unsafe problems in the past few days,....
    Hun Sen severely stressed: “I will fire (the parents) for you to see.... In the past, you do not want to report them to me, ...
    But you (police officers) do not dare report these cases to me, if you were to report them to me, I will fire the parents immediately, if Hun Sen cannot do that, I will resign.”
    And these are just some excerpts, it all seems so harsh. The KIMedia article generates a lot of interest, 39(!) comments. Then KI Media produce their own article (a unicum?), though by then many other media have mentioned this case. They name the culprit (Ung Vanna, son of 3 star general Ung Samkham) and are now waiting for the government to respond. Let's hope they are not holding their breath.
  • In the meantime it looks like Phnom Penh is of the verge of entering the taxi-era.
    'City inks deal to 300 Cabs to Streets'
    is the front page headline news from The Cambodia Daily on the 7th of November 2007. The taxi charges are meant to be 0.50 $US per km. This despite the article mentioning that the Vietnamese try-out of a few months back has floundered. It apparently did not have an official contract, though that seems to be just part of the reason. Oh yeah, the new taxis will not be operating from the airport, as these 'airport taxi's' are already involved in some 'official' racket. My cabbie mentioned something of having to pay 7,000 $US for the privilege to pick up incoming passengers and charge them a couple of dollars more.
  • Vietnam earmark 1.8 billion (!) $US for an expressway between Chau Doc (Vietnam) and Phnom Penh, the Cambodian Daily reported. The Cambodia official side seem to know little about the project.
  • More violence:
    'Two police detained in shooting after crash',
    the Cambodian Daily reported on November 8, 2007. Here we complain about law enforcement and now the law is enforced, ...
    No, no: the setting: Car A hits B (unclear whether vehicle B is a car of motorcycle). One passenger in vehicle B dies, wife and child are injured. Car A continues and driver of A (son of a provincial deputy police chief) consequently flees. However his license plate remains at crash site. Person X takes license plate as an 'insurance'. Two police offers shoot person X (in the chest) as he fails to hand them the license plate. Family of deceased refrain from pursuing complaint as perpetrator has already paid compensation. That's the way things go here.
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