Crossing Cambodia

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Chasing Cars, the Preah Vihear peace edition

Everywhere there's Preah Vihear in the media, here, there and everywhere. Which is quite surprising. It's been here/there for centuries and hopefully will be here/there for more, however politicians and/or soldiers seem to need to uptake the issue of whether the temple is here or there to fulfill their cause, as if here/there are no more pressing issues?
Final word on the issue, with the Thai side closed and the Cambodian side nearly impassable (rains), don't hold your breath on the temple becoming the second Angkor Wat or what, within the foreseeable future that is.
  • A first on the election front:
    'Two party activists killed in collision'
    is an item from VOA as published on KI Media.
    '"This is the first time a political party activist died in an election campaign due to a traffic accident," he [Pok Pulrith, chief of traffic police in Takeo] said'.
    Make that first and second. Usually, party activists are killed by murder. Do not know whether this is a change for the good ....
  • More from the front, ... the election front that is, not the Thai-Cambo front! Vuthasurf writes about campaigning with government cars albeit without license plates:
    'According to the new road traffic law, the vehicle’s drivers without license plates are subject to a prison sentence of between six days to one month and a fine ranging from 20,000 to 200,000 riel'.
    He then concludes:
    'the enforcement of traffic law is still weak, and only the poor and ordinary people have been punished and fined'.
  • on the same issue, reveals that the 2008 parliamentary election campaign is actually:
    'A Lot of Unlicensed Vehicles Campaign'.
    Though that's what the opposition thinks ...
  • Vietnam is now irritated about subsidizing petrol in Cambodia. Considering the bill they have to pay for subsidizing their own petrol last year was over $1 billion, subsidizing Cambodia in the process can hardly be worth being irritated.
    'The Market Monitoring Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade said that petrol smuggling in the Mekong Delta tended to increase lately, with some 15,000 liters of petrol smuggled to Cambodia per day'.
    At 0,30 $US profit margin / ltr, this might represent $1.5 -2.0 $US million, probably not even a percent of this years bill. Cheap neighbours nah?
  • More from the frontier of the illegal fuel smugglers, this time from the other (now irritated?) neighbour ostensibly known as the 'Land of Smiles'.
    A fuel truck overturns. As 3 journo's (or is it journies?) happen to pass, they see this as a great photo op. Not so.
    'Then two men from a Mitsubishi car which came, with a license plate of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces [RCAF] with the umber 2 2809, jumped out and hit the journalists with their hands and kicked them and brutally twisted their arms and boxed them'.
    Journo no. 1 had
    'his nasal bone ... broken'
    , journo no. 2 had
    'his camera ... broken'
    , while journo no. 3
    'was able to escape from the hitting'.
    Luckily for Cambodia, that these guys fight for us! Pity that now the stream of cheap fuel from Thailand will come to a stop.
  • There are some 'normal' news facts from Cambodia itself:
    'Cyclo drivers in security guard smackdown'.
    From the Khmeri Prosperous blog:
    'Phnom Penh’s cyclo drivers say security guards around the city’s markets are chasing them off and making it increasingly difficult for them to earn a living. ...
    “About half of all of cyclo drivers have faced problems with market security guards, usually asking them for money,” she [Cyclo Center coordinator Nouv Sarany] said, adding that guards at Phsar Thmei (Central Market) and the Sorya Shopping Center were the leading cause of headaches [is that literally or a figure of speech?]'.
    Shame on those guards! ABC adds:
    'The drivers have also accused the guards of seeking protection money'.
  • Paying protection money? Yesterday's (July 18, 2008) Cambodia Daily mentions:
    'Tuk-tuk drivers form unofficial union at port'.
    What for?
    'to control access to tourists arriving ... at Phnom Penh Autonomous Port'. ... In return for the monthly payments, security guards will ensure that only members of the group [or 'unofficial' union] will be allowed into the area where tourists arrive.
    The manager of the port though seems to be a bit slow:
    "Nowadays we don't take money from the tuk-tuk drivers ...",
    but then regathers himself, contemplates and believes it's a grand idea, charging 'protection money:
    "but in future, we might charge some money", Hei Bovy [Phnom Penh Autonomous Port Authority General Manager] says.
    As their formation was to halt:
    'limiting earning for drivers',
    one guess should suffice to who will eventually ends up paying the 'protection' money!
    Next time take the bus and hope the bus company doesn't do the same! Fat chance....
  • Finally from the statistics front: April saw 176 less citizens in Cambodia, which represents a 21% increase over April 2007 Cambodia Daily reports (18 July 2008) from a (unpublished?) monthly report by RTAVIS.
    Again the police are quoted on how the traffic law is being disrespected. Well police, do something about it!

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