A traffic cop displays a copy of the newly implemented law that is angering drivers.
RAFFIC police began fining drivers without rearview mirrors attached to their motorbikes on Tuesday, setting off a wave of indignation among commuters.
"I have never seen or heard anything about this law, and it's the municipality's job to make sure people know about a law before they start handing out fines," said Deth Bunthok, 33, an NGO employee.
Pho Chanpheakdey, 23, an engineer at the Phnom Penh International Airport whose long drive to work leaves him especially vulnerable to traffic fines, insisted rearview mirrors were useless but said it was the behaviour of traffic cops that bothered him most. "Some police take away people's motorbikes if they don't give the amount asked for."
University student Phoung Chhunleang did not object to the law itself but to its whimsical application. "I don't know what the official fine is, but it really bothers me that they just claim whatever amount they want. Traffic police tried give me a big fine, 10,000 riels, but it seemed too high so I would only give them 5,000."
Police officer Chav Hak said traffic cops were responsible for monitoring four infractions - missing driver's licenses, license plates and rearview mirrors, as well as excess passengers - and were currently focusing on rearview mirror fines. "We postponed implementing the law until after the election, but now we are enforcing it."
According to the traffic policeman, a rearview mirror infraction carries a 4,000 riel fine, and the new law was "publicised in newspapers and on television and radio, but I still don't know how many people know about it".
He said enforcement of the law was part of efforts to reduce the rising number of road deaths.