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New fee for ID cards

THE Ministry of Economy and Finance and the National Police have announced the introduction of a new 10,000-riel (US$2.50) fee for the issuing of identification cards, according to a public notice obtained yesterday.

National ID cards, which are compulsory for Cambodian citizens over 18 years of age, are currently free of charge.

National Police spokesman Kirt Chantharith said yesterday that the new charges would help pay for the materials that produce the cards.

“The price is not too expensive, so ordinary people can afford it,” he said.

Chan Soveth, a senior monitor for the local rights group Adhoc, said the fees could pose problems for the rural poor.

“If they have ten members in their family they’ll have to pay up to 100,000 riels [$25], while rich people will be okay [with paying the fee],” he said.

“The production of ID cards should be paid for by the state for its people, [like in] other neighbouring countries, such as Vietnam.”

Kirt Chantharith admitted that some poor people might find it difficult to afford the extra fee, but said it was necessary to cover the costs of the service.

He added that the new charge will come into effect after it is approved by the ministers of interior and finance.

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