Crossing Cambodia

Friday, November 07, 2008

Chasing Cars, another pre-Water festival edition

More yawns? Apparently so.
  • 'But the peak-time electricity cuts in Russey Keo are upsetting more than local residents - the capital's major ring road runs through the area and power cuts mean traffic lights are out of operation, causing the roads to become nearly unmanageable.

    "Electricity shortages in Phnom Penh are causing major traffic jams," Tin Prasoeur, chief of the Phnom Penh traffic police, told the Post on Thursday.

    "We get a very bad headache when lamp posts and traffic lights on the major roads in this city are cut off as a result of no electricity," he said.'
    Again the traffic police lay the blame elsewhere. Conveniently. Over the last few months CC has mentioned a few times how once the electricity goes, traffic jams occur. And what do the traffic police posted at that intersection do? At best they try to fine a couple of moto's without mirrors. If not, they just hang out on the shady cornor and wait for an accident to happen.
  • Because accidents are a source of income for the traffic police:
    'Phnom Penh Police Chief Touch Naruth admitted that his force occasionally informed private clinics about traffic accidents, but said that most cases involved witnesses or victims calling them directly.
    "Our police do inform private clinics where traffic accidents are sometimes, but usually people at the scene call private clinics directly because they are faster."'
    But despite that admittance, the govenor of Phnom Penh goes on record:
    'Phnom Penh Governor Kep Chuktema denied at the meeting that his police department had accepted bribes to inform private clinics of accidents'.
    So why do we care?
    'In an bid to promote a public ambulance service, the Health Ministry has made it illegal for private ambulances to retrieve victims in emergency situations - even if they are first on the scene'.
    How long will the ban last? Until the Water festival?
  • Instead the government should start to wake up to the issue of petrol smuggling. Like the Tonle Sap when the flow of water changes, so does the direction of the smuggling change, it appears. Despite being dissatisfied with the petrol companies on lowering petrol prices, the following is now occuring:
    'Now, petrol is being smuggled from Cambodia into Vietnam, instead of the other way around'.
    Is Cambodia now subsidizing Vietnam?
  • But not to worry, vehicle tax income has risen by at least 12,5% above projections. So are there that many vehicles being imported or is the government not so good in 'projecting'? Despite knowing roughly what the inflow of tax would be:
    'Phnom Penh has an estimated 80,000 automobiles and 220,000 motorbikes, according to tax office figures'.
    Then the discussion on corruption:
    'Son Chhay [opposition lawmaker] said that tax officials often demand illegal fees when people pay their tax and that police collect bribes for violations, which also deprives the government of revenue.
    But Om Cham said the law does not force drivers to pay extra fees and that motorists paying bribes were breaking the law'.
    Yeah right, the motorists are breaking the law! Blame the others!
  • Back to the start of today's entry, traffic lights. Vuthasurf surprisingly feels guilt because of a 'blue' light?
    'When approaching in the middle of street, the blue light turned into red.
    At that time, I felt ashamed about myself because of breaking the traffic light law'.
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