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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Surprise traffic crackdown nets hybrid moto-trailers

Surprise traffic crackdown nets hybrid moto-trailers

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090212_05.jpg

Police move to enforce law banning motorbikes towing improvised trailers, calling the vehicles ‘disorderly'.

Photo by:
SOVANN PHILONG

Irate motorbike-towed trailer drivers at the Russei Keo district police station on Wednesday.  

AN impromptu crackdown on motorbikes pulling overloaded trailers into the capital netted more than 20 vehicles Wednesday, as traffic police moved to enforce a long-dormant City Hall directive, officials say.

"We do not allow big motorbikes to tow trailers into the city because it causes traffic jams and makes the city look messy and disorderly," said Chav Hak, deputy chief of the Phnom Penh Municipal Traffic Police.

"[On Wednesday] the Municipality ordered me ... to stop all big motorbikes towing trailers into the city. They can stop in the suburbs, but they cannot come into the city. If they still come, we will stop them."

He said the offending trailer-motorbikes had been impounded and held at the traffic police headquarters in Russei Keo district, where their owners can return in seven days to collect them. 

Prum Non, 24, the owner of one of the impounded vehicles, told the Post that he makes a living selling charcoal from Kampong Speu province, and criticised the police for cracking down without giving road users advance warning.

We have no money. that's why we use these motorbike-towed trailers.

"I am not happy with the police's actions. They did not announce to us first about these new measures. They should inform all people first and then take action afterwards," he said, adding that police told the drivers to "buy a truck" instead of using motorbike-towed trailers.

"The police should give us a loan of about US$10,000 to buy a truck," he added. "We have no money. That's why we use these motorbike-towed trailers."

Tell us how much

Pen Malin, 35, from Kampong Speu province, said that most of the people who drive the hybrid vehicles hail from Kampong Speu, where there is little other work to do.

"If they want to fine us, then they should tell us how much it is. We will pay the fine and take our motorbike-towed trailers and wood charcoal back home," he said.

"We need it to go back home to make other business to feed our families."

But Heang Channa, 24, said the police had offered no explanation for the confiscation of his vehicle.

"They didn't tell me what the problem was. They just told me to come to the police station for a short time to make a report," he said.

He added that the sudden application of the law seemed inconsistent considering the shakedowns orchestrated by traffic officials along the Kingdom's highways.

"We have spent more than 30,000 riels ($7.27) at police checkpoints along the national road from Kampong Speu to Phnom Penh," he said.

"Look at the police. They are not skinny. We work hard, but we are still very skinny."

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