Information Minister Khieu Kanharith took to Facebook on Saturday to remind drivers of vehicles with illegal “press” licence plates that “it will not be a fine, but prison” if police catch them.
Press plates are not officially issued by any organ of the Cambodian government, but are instead made by roadside vendors, who turn out fakes for as little as $4.50.
Information Ministry spokesman Ouk Kemseng maintained yesterday that the blame for the proliferation of the plates didn’t fall to his ministry, saying that licence plates fall under the Public Works and Transportation Ministry’s purview. “Do not point fingers at the [Information Ministry],” he said.
The Interior Ministry’s director of public works and transportation, Run Rathveasna, said no vehicle with press plates had ever been impounded by the ministry and that his familiarity with the phenomenon came through viral social media posts.
However, he said, if users are caught they will face arrest. “If they are [using] forgeries, they will be sentenced to two to five years in prison.”
Pen Bona, president of the Club of Cambodian Journalists, said he supported a crackdown.
“I think that those people using press number plates seem to gain advantages for themselves since they think that it might influence the authorities.”