Crossing Cambodia

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Chasing Cars Cambodian style, 24 May 2009

A round up:
  • Cambodia’s PM goes against the grain. He actually wants bribery and especially bribing police to stop:
    ‘“Some government leaders give money to traffic police and the gendarmeries, but sometimes this kindness scorns the forces who apply the law and scorns the law as well,” Hun Sen said at a ceremony to change heads of the government’s counter-drug office. “Please stop doing it.”
    Why would he mention this at a counter- drug ceremony? And why is he so anti-Cambodian social norms?
  • What is acceptable [from khmer440 forum]?
    'Someone has spent large at the Mercedes dealership today. I got pulled over by the police on Norodom this afternoon while a convoy of brand new Mercedes cars and minibuses headed south. There must have been over 40 vehicles, all of them spanking new. All the cars had signs in their front windows telling the names of different countries. Is Cambodia hosting a major international meeting?
    I wonder who payed for all those cars - that's some serious loot.'
    A.: ....?
  • More gifts:
    'China on Tuesday provided about 73 million U.S. dollars of a concessional loan to Cambodia to build a part of main road in the northeastern part of the country to develop that area into a newly potential economic zone'.
    Technically it's not a gift, but who will pay this back?
  • More on gifts, but now from the less fortunate Lao: '
    Lao cops accept donation.
    No doubt, these sponsored plastic traffic danger triangles will greatly assist them'.
  • And now we are to find out what happens to the gifts: the speed guns are in use. At least according to the Phnom Penh Post (19-05-2009). But citing Phnom Penh's top cop:
    'We are reconsidering working at nighttime.... It is a bit hard to work at night for the police when they try to stop drunken drivers, especially in dark places'.
    Surprise, surprise, Cambodian drivers usually drink, drive and speed at night as during the day there is too much traffic and lights interfere with the drinking business!
  • Meanwhile on the license plate biz front a Phnom Penh Post writer on Monday had the following:
    'The government is cracking down on cars with unauthorized police and military number plates. But around 8:30am, everyone can see Mercedeses with government plates driving the opposite way on Monivong Boulevard towards the Council of Ministers building. Why do cars with government plates insist on driving in the opposite lane during rush-hour traffic, as if they were an emergency vehicle like an ambulance or firetruck?'

  • And then the PM waded in:
    'During a speech at the Ministry of Interior, Hun Sen ordered ministers to take action after he noticed that drivers were still flouting his recent ban on the use of RCAF and police plates by unauthorised vehicles. He said he had ordered the ministers of interior and defence to establish a deadline for drivers to get rid of their illegal licence plates, saying any cars still bearing unauthorised tags would be confiscated by the state.'
  • Not only cars need to confiscated, according to yet again another Phnom Penh Post article:
    'Police could be empowered to seize and confiscate motorbikes without side mirrors under a Land Traffic Law amendment proposed by Prime Minister Hun Sen. Drivers without helmets would also be subject to the amendment suggested in a speech Tuesday'.
    That seems a bit harsh. Moreover it's against the law. Currently only art. 84 gives police the powers to confiscate, but only in cases of overloading a truck. Despite that traffic police do regularly confiscate cars after accidents, this in clear contravention of art. 72. One problem with laws are that they are supposed to be adhered to. And considering that a new law can take anything of up to 10 years to draw up (in the case of anti-corruption), amending this law might take some time.
    Finally, Phnom Penh's top traffic cop adds a curious remark:
    '"I think it is good that the law [will] allow police to catch the motorbikes to warn those who do not respect the law because fining them does not seem to be very effective," he said'.
    But we have already proven (see previous Chasing Cars that it's the police who are failing to be effective, not the law!
  • On law enforcement, from Thailand, a mention in today's Bangkok Post.:
    'Director Nonsri "Oui" Nimibutr has been convicted on a second drink-driving offence. A court has sentenced the former drink-driving campaigner to 14 days in jail, reduced to seven days confinement after he confessed. They also suspended his licence for six months.
    "I want the court to reconsider the sentence. I don't want to just sit around for seven days. How about getting me to front another advertisement, free of charge, on the dangers of drink-driving?"'.
Yeah, how come?
Somewhere along the highway in Kampong Thom province.
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