POLICE have begun a crackdown on cars with tinted windows, as ordered by Prime Minister Hun Sen in a meeting Friday at the Council of Ministers.
Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak said Monday that police were taking a hard line with owners of cars with tinted windows, forcing them to remove the window tinting “to ensure security and order for the Cambodian people”.
“Police will eliminate cars with tinted windows from the road,” Khieu Sopheak said, adding that he did not yet have precise figures on the number of drivers who had been disciplined because police were still preparing their reports.
Am Sam Ath, a technical supervisor for local rights group Licadho, said he supported the government’s anti-tints initiative, though he added that it must be applied in a sustained fashion that does not exempt the rich or powerful.
“We want this practice of the police to continue forever, rather than being sporadic like before,” Am Sam Ath said.
However, Yim Sovann, spokesman for the opposition Sam Rainsy Party, questioned the wisdom of the recent crackdown. He said the government could be focusing on far more serious offenses – including corruption and a culture of impunity among security forces – and added that there may in fact be some benefits to tinted windows.
“Cars with tinted windows can sometimes keep politicians secure,” Yim Sovann said.
On the corner of Street 360 in Phnom Penh’s Chamkarmon district on Monday afternoon, municipal police could been seen stopping cars with tinted windows and forcing them to remove the darkened covering from their windows.
No fines were collected, however, and drivers were free to leave as soon as their windows had been restored to normal.
The checkpoint was also used as an enforcement point for other ongoing traffic initiatives, such as motorbike drivers who lacked helmets and whose motorbikes lacked mirrors were stopped and fined.