About 300 motodop and tuk-tuk drivers participating in an International Labour Day march yesterday in Sihanoukville were blocked from handing a petition to provincial authorities by a barricade of more than 100 police and military police officers, drivers said.
Heng Sam Om, secretary-general of the Independent Democracy of Informal Economy Association, told the Post that about 600 motodop and tuk-tuk drivers tried to join the march, but were blocked by the enormous police force that also prevented the drivers from submitting a petition to the provincial governor.
The drivers want a blanket ban on motorbike rentals for foreign tourists.
“We don’t want to rent motorbikes, because foreign tourists don’t know Khmer habits when driving; they don’t comply with the law, and some drive by keeping on the left side, so that causes traffic accidents,” Heng Sam Om said.
The drivers also want bus companies to end courtesy hotel pick-ups for customers.
“Now, our business is not rich in [Sihanoukville] because foreigners get their own transports,” Heng Sam Om added.
Preah Sihanouk provincial governor Sbong Sarath said that forces were deployed for the safety of the drivers who had not given prior notice of their plans to hold a march.
Sbong Sarath said the drivers’ request was unreasonable because Cambodia is “a free market”.
He said that bus services picking up guests at their hotels could not be banned because some guests stayed at five-star hotels, “so they would not take motodop”.
To contact the reporter on this story: Chhay Channyda at [email protected]