Crossing Cambodia

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Chasing Cars, March 24, 2010

On a non traffic related matter I recently signed up to Smart internet, they offering some of the cheapest internet on mobile phones. Cheap is definitely not good. Needed just 3 visits to their customer service and now it's working, but soooooo slooooooow. And they have blocked access to KI Media, a seemingly unendless amount of news stories.
'While trying to retrieve the URL: The following error was encountered:
  • Access Denied. Access control configuration prevents your request from being allowed at this time. Please contact your service provider if you feel this is incorrect [sic]'.
Anyway on Cambodia's traffic front. Yesterday's (23 March 2010) Phnom Penh Post provided an opposition parliamentarian a couple of columns to allow him to publicly complain about the lack of redress within the Cambodian legal system. Remember his son was shot after a traffic dispute in Phnom Penh's center. Though at the time it was a bit ambiguous about the cause of the dispute, it is tellingly that the police have been unable to arrest the killer despite having his name.
' “... the police have not got any clue about the suspect’s whereabouts. I request that the police speed up their work in this case so that justice can be brought to my son,”...'
However it does seem weird that a parliamentarian thinks he can jump the line. Injustice is common within the country and the legal system is only working for the rich and well-connected. If anything this parliamentarian should know this. Or not?
  • How the law sometimes 'works':
    'A 33-year-old man is facing prosecution after he was accused of involvement in a Wednesday traffic accident in Phnom Penh that killed a 30-year-old garment worker and a 13-year-old boy. However, authorities speculated that the man might not be sent to court if he agrees to pay US$4,500 in compensation to the victim’s family. By law, accused perpetrators still face court action even if they agree to out-of-court monetary compensation. But another driver who was allegedly involved in the same accident was not sentenced after he paid up'.
  • In and on forums on Cambodia one of the most often asked questions regards transportation and if buses run between x and y, and how are they? Andy B. reviews on his blog his recent trip with paramount to Siem Reap: '
    If you want to do the bus trip between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap then don't choose Paramount Angkor Express, as their bus that carried me between the two, leaving the capital at 6pm, was one of the most uncomfortable I've ever been on. And believe me I've been on some crap buses'.
    After receiving a comment praising the same company he adjusts his views:
    'the bus he [bus driver] was in charge of had seen better days and needed some new screws fitted. By comparison the Mekong Express bus to PP was considerably better'.
  • A small article (22 March 2010) in the Phnom Penh Post on how the number of accidents is up. As usual the article is full of statistic wonders.
  • The Australian company hoping to earn a buck off Cambodia's railroads has found out that the going will be tough:
    'David Kerr, CEO of Toll Holdings Group Cambodia (THGC), asked the government to put regulations and infrastructure in place, which are needed to fix the country’s railways'.
    Should have thought that before signing up ...
  • A promise is what? Cebu Pacific had promised to start to fly to Cambo land this April, but nothing seems to be in the pipeline. This thread on Khmer 440 seems to suggest that it's not such a bad thing ...
    'Cebu Pacific Air is the worst airline I have ever flown--huge delays, booking hassles, canceled flights with no advance notice, refunds that never arrive, and horrible service ...'
  • Promises? That's what they hope what will get the Sihanouk airport up and running.
    'Sihanoukville airport is still struggling to attract airlines due to the enduring slump in the regional travel industry, according to an official at Societe Concessionaire des Aeroports (SCA), the French firm that manages the Kingdom’s airports.
    Still, not a single airline has agreed to flights to the airport despite the offer of zero percent airport tax.
    SCA’s Chief Planning Officer Tanguy Bertolus said Tuesday that new national carrier Cambodia Angkor Air (CAA), a joint venture between the government and Vietnam Airlines, was showing reluctance to fly to the recently renovated airport due to the difficult economic climate.
    “Cambodia Angkor is a subsidiary of Vietnam Airlines and the Cambodian government, and they are not really keen right now to take risks and open new lines,” he said'.
    That's goobledigook. The company has only been existing for 12 months and the situation when they started was probably worse than now. So why are they backtracking?
  • More tourist related info. As in the previous editions of CC the ... 'boat cartel' ... Though they call themselves a Water Transport Association, they have been trying to cream off the boat owners by imposing themselves and getting the tourists to foot the bill. The way it works:
    'Ly Puthy, association president, said a letter thumbprinted by all members would be sent to the Tourism, Interior, Public Works and Transport ministries, and to Phnom Penh Governor Kep Chuktema, requesting that Rin Naran – owner of the Chamkar Sne boat – immediately join the association'.
  • Talking about boats. Why all the fuss about tourist boats?
    'Two women died when a boat sank on the Mekong River in Prey Veng province on Friday, police said, the most recent of a string of such incidents throughout the Kingdom prompting officials to issue warnings about the dangers of overloading passenger boats and other vessels'.
  • Tourism helps? After visiting Cambodia in 2007 (by bicycle) Dan Austin decided to get help in, by donating cycles to children. In Cambodia of course, in Uganda, in Peru. The organisation 88 Bikes, gets a (very positive) roll call on CBS News. 88 is the cost of donating a bicycle.
  • Has someone picked up on this? Phnom Penh is to become clean? Cambodian Beginnings has a short blog entry.
    'However, as of next month Phnom Penh City Hall intends to rectify the state of it's streets. 5000 riel fines (US $1.20) will be administered to anyone seen discarding rubbish in public places. The boulevards are wide, tree-lined and quite beautiful in some places. Perhaps this fine will go some way in returning Phnom Penh to it's hayday of being the 'Paris of the East' in the 1950's'.
  • Elsewhere in the city the officials are trying to prevent anarchy from amorous bulls.
    'Police in the capital’s Dangkor district have seized 15 wayward cows and bulls after a recent spate of incidents in which lustful bulls have vigorously pursued potential mates, disrupting traffic and endangering passersby, officials said'.
    This even made the international press. Or better said the Malaysian press.
  • A clinic in Phnom Penh was closed down due to complaints following a traffic accident. Or not?
    'The Health Ministry has opted to shut down a medical clinic that was accused of negligence in its treatment of a man who succumbed to injuries sustained in a traffic accident last week, the director of the Phnom Penh Municipal Health Department said Sunday.
    “The association ran a health-care business without approval from the Ministry of Health and was shut down,” Sok Sokun, the municipal Health Department director, said Sunday. “It will be allowed to reopen only after it receives an official license to operate from the ministry.”'
Just outside Phnom Penh
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