Crossing Cambodia

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Chasing Cars, mid March 2010

During the past month steps have been announced to get the general public to comply to a couple of paragraphs of the traffic law as well as suggestions being made to expand the law. Helmet fines would rise 6-fold.
'The fine has been set too low, which means drivers have not stopped their bad habits. They seem to look down on the traffic law,” he [Him Yan, director of the Department of Public Order at the Interior Ministry] said'.
The idea actually comes from Handicap International. The article also suggests that higher fines will lead to more unreasonable police.
Note also in this article the photo with caption implying the offender is paying for a mirror offense. That despite the photo showing that the offender does have a mirror. An editorial mistake?

However some problems are overlooked. Poor compliance is due to poor law implementation. Go anywhere outside the capital and you'll soon see compliance to the law drops to single figures, even police don't care. Nor is there any law enforcement once the sun drops, even in Phnom Penh.
Additionally, much is made of visible law enforcement. Probably one of the biggest dangers is running red lights about which nothing is done ...
The Cambodia Mirror argues the same point of poor law enforcement in Cambodia in general. It uses the recent license plate drama as reference.
Anyway the police are positive:
'.... 10,859 motorbike drivers had been stopped during the first two weeks of February because they lacked mirrors or helmets'.
That said Khmer 440 forum once more adds some real life detail. A forum poster describes how to nail a culprit. Then follows more experiences with law enforcement.

'officials have delayed a decision on a long list of proposed amendments to the Kingdom’s traffic laws'.
Officials need more time ...
  • In a never ending list for regulating everything, the government would like suits for moto drivers in Phnom Penh. Not a three piece though. '
    “We want to give safety to the tourists and make the city look good,” Chreang Sophan said, in explanation of the motivation for creating the uniform'.
    Siem Reap already has experience with $10 suits:
    ' ... uniforms had identification numbers on them, and that no moto or tuk-tuk driver had committed crimes against passengers since the uniforms were introduced [in 2002]'.
    That's no reported crimes ...
  • The national airline buys a new aircraft, it's first. No price is mentioned nor who the seller is. Hence, CC believes that the price is too expensive and that the seller is closely involved. Funny though as CC would like to check some recent info, the airlines site is in error (mid day March 11, 2010).
  • KI Media has a link to a strange article. Apparently a Korean company has been awarded a contract to
    'design and supervise the improvement of two national highways and one local road and the construction of a detour'.
    The former shouldn't be too hard.
  • Construction of the road to Pailin is not going according to plan. A Chinese company somehow isn't coughing up the money required according to a Phnom Penh Post article.
  • Stan is writing again on Kampot. This time he blames paving for flooding after rains. Though the authorities blame clogged drains. Whatever, it's probably due to the local government.
  • How many times can you make the news with the same project? A signing ceremony was held in March 2010 for a project begun in 2007! A project to improve Cambodia's railways, but that we knew already.
    Bigger news though is that something is really happening. I've seen new sleepers in Takeo and disappearing rails between Takeo and Kampot.
Kep station
  • Possible real news on the rail front for Cambodia comes from China via SMH ( 10-03-10). They know somehow that
    'A third network [of high spped trains] would extend south through Vietnam, Thailand, Burma and Malaysia'.
    Is Cambodia missing the train?
  • Phnom Penh's tourism boats are another recently regulated category. The Association of Phnom Penh Water Tourist Transport (essentially a government organisation) believes in order, not in competition. This contradicted by the Phnom Penh's port director. The Ministry now also wants the boats to be licensed (how much will that cost? All extra costs will be charged to the users ...).
    Anyway a few days later 5 members of the association were quitting. There complaint, surprise, surprise:
    'business went down'.
    The associations reply? Clear off!
    Now the government will be stepping in or so says the Phnom Penh Post (4 March 2010).
  • A spike in car registration? Would the Phnom Penh Post have expected a decrease? Now only 1.13 million vehicles were registered.
Finally, we all know how whacky Cambodia's transportation system is. A photography book by Conor Wall and Hans Kemp gives examples of moto's and their freight. The issuing is accompanied by an exhibition in the FCC.
More examples of whacky moto's are available from Life in Cambodia.
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