Crossing Cambodia

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Chasing Cars Cambodian Style, a week before Kmer New Year

  • A week before Khmer New Year? Cambodian Daily (4 April 2008) reports that the police are stepping up patrols, taking no holidays and putting special emphasis on the streets around pagodas. According to a police district chief:
    'the hope is that an increased police presence will make it safer for those who hold impromptu dance parties on the streets and ...'
  • Phnom Penh Post (April 4-17, 2008) mention an apparent non-event: the bridge over the Sekong river near Stung Treng has opened, thus bringing Lao closer. This, months after it was finished and you could pass if you kept office hours and asked the guard of the bridge politely!
  • A 'only in Cambodia' accident:
    'Twelve people have been killed and 11 others seriously injured in one of Cambodia's worst ever traffic accidents. The crash occurred on Tuesday when a mini-van packed full of travellers collided with a truck as it tried to turn across a highway in eastern Cambodia, district Police Chief Heng Vuthy said.
    "It is a tragedy caused by driver negligence," he said.'
    This according to ABC. More or less the same article can be had over at KI Media, but to spice it up they have included the photo's which were published by a Khmer language newspaper. Buy a Khmer newspaper and you get to see all the victims of whatever crime and/or case of bad luck. Cambodia Daily (April 3, 2008) adds a quote attributed to the provincial police chief:
    'Most drivers don't understand the traffic law or understand how to use their own vehicles and motorbikes'.
    If you see how law is not being enforced, possibly the police fail to understand the traffic law as well!
  • The Cambodian Weekly (March 30-April 5) highlights the business of selling cars, which are hot Khmer New Year presents apparently.
    'The boulevards of Phnom Penh are choked by more cars ...'.
    Prices have gone up by $1,000 as a result of the 'increase in import tax'. According to sellers this increase has not 'dampened demand'. One seller however had a problem: he had sold out of cars and had an empty showroom, that in the week before Khmer New Year.
  • Finally, from the Cambodian Daily (April 3, 2008) lamentations concerning the price of petrol. Tuk-tuk drivers and moto's now have trouble making ends meet and tourists are frustrated as they believe they are being overcharged:
    'They don't believe that this is the price. I tell them the guidebook is very old," Neang Kunthea [tuk-tuk driver] said. "Some people don't understand that gas prices are high" '.
    Neither does Crossing Cambodia.

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