TRAFFIC police enforcing the new traffic law are countering motorists' demands for official tickets with heftier fines for those demanding receipts.
Informal fines have long been a reality on Phnom Penh's roads, but armed with the new traffic regulations, police have been demanding more money in recent months. Local motorists are increasingly hesitant to cough up the dough without a fight, telling cops to produce a formal ticket.
"But if we ask for a ticket, they double the fine. They want to make it difficult for us because a ticket makes it harder for them to pocket the money," said Mey Rachna, a student at the National University of Management.
"They refuse to write us a proper ticket because it's not a real fine. I always see them in the evenings sharing the money they've gotten," said Vantha, a local NGO employee.
Many commuters see the new traffic law's stipulation that all motorbikes have rearview mirrors as adding to the problem by giving traffic police a new excuse to pull them over. Sok Khen, a traffic policeman on Monivong Boulevard, said traffic police are focusing on mirror violations because there had been an increase in road accidents. "For this violation, we punish them with a 4,000 riel fine, or 2,000 riels if they don't need a receipt," he said, but declined to elaborate why a receipt cost more.
Tin Prasoer, chief of Phnom Penh's traffic police, said authorities are required by law to give receipts when they fine motorists, adding that police who charge extra would be punished. "The official fine for a mirror infraction is 4,000 riels, and this money is supposed to go to the Ministry of Economy and Finance," he said.