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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Motorbike hordes heed edict on mirrors

Motorbike hordes heed edict on mirrors

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Phnom Penh's motorcyclists are heeding the edict to buy mirrors.

V ehicle accessory sellers in Phnom Penh say business has been booming since Phnom Penh Municipality ordered all motorbike riders to put mirrors on their vehicles on October 19.

Heng Sem, 42, a vehicle parts seller at Psar Kandal, said that since City Hall issued its order she had been selling between 80 and 100 pairs of mirrors a day, for a profit of 500 to 1,000 riel per pair.

She said this week business had dropped off to about 30 pairs a day because most moto drivers had already installed the mirrors.

Sok Yi, 53, a moto decorating-material seller at Psar Toul Tom Pong, said she decided to get into the moto mirror business a week ago after she saw the profits mirror-sellers at Psar Orasey were making.

Yi said she sells from 10 to 20 pairs a day and the profit she gets depends on whom she is selling to.

"For the motodop driver, I sell the mirrors a bit cheaper, but if the person looks wealthy, I put the price up."

Pa Socheatevong, Phnom Penh deputy municipal governor, said on December 5 that more than 50 percent of the city's 500,000 motorbikes had installed mirrors so far.

He said City Hall issued its order for motorbike mirrors to reduce traffic accidents.

But mirror sellers and their customers say people are buying the mirrors just to avoid bother from traffic police.

Sem said motodops were the majority of her mirror-buying customers.

"Most moto drivers who have come to my shop said they were buying the mirrors to escape police interference," she said. "They have to deal with the police every day, and they say seven or eight thousand riel is a small price to pay to keep the police off, compared with the hundreds of dollars their motorbikes cost them."

Sovann Rith, 29, a motodop driver who had just bought a pair of mirrors at Sok Yi's shop, told the Post they cost him 4,500 riel.

"If I don't install mirrors on my motorbike, I would have difficulty when I am driving because police will stop and ask me for money," Rith said. "I am getting tired of arguing with police."

Eam Lakhena, 21, a college student in Phnom Penh who also bought mirrors at Sok Yi's shop, said she bought them because most of her friends had already installed them on their motorbikes and had warned her that police would fine her if her motorbike did not have them.

Pa Socheatevong said the municipality was giving people more time to install mirrors.

"We have not begun fining people whose motos do not have mirrors; we are giving them more time," he said.

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