POLICE fanned out across Phsar Kandal I commune in Phnom Penh’s Daun Penh district on Wednesday to inform shopkeepers and street vendors that they could no longer block the area’s pavements and roadways with their displays, threatening to confiscate the goods of offending merchants.
“In order to improve public order, businesses on Sisowath Quay have been asked to restrict their activities to shop interiors. However, vendors located on small streets can use half the width of the pavement,” said Nuth Chantha, Phsar Kandal I’s chief of public order police.
“On Thursday, we will come back again to implement the new policy. Violators will have their goods confiscated.”
Nun Chantha added that 70 percent of the shop owners who were informed of the new regulation said they planned to comply.
Hem Him, Phsar Kandal I commune’s chief of police, said the heavy pedestrian and vehicle traffic in the area – which includes the riverfront businesses and restaurants on Sisowath Quay popular with foreign tourists – left no room for unregulated commercial spillover.
“The commune’s new policy on sidewalk and road use is part of the Phnom Penh municipality’s plan to widen the city’s streets and avoid the congestion caused by vendors using the streets as their own land,” he said.
Sophal, a watch repairman who declined to give his family name, said he heard the announcement via loudspeaker from his stall in front of a residential building near Kandal Market.
“I will move my stall back from the street, closer in to the building, but many vendors will not comply,” he said. “They paid money to the police to keep their businesses open as usual tomorrow.”