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Cars driven by protesting taxi drivers block the road in front of Kampot town’s provincial hall
Cars driven by protesting taxi drivers block the road in front of Kampot town’s provincial hall yesterday in Kampot province. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Taxi drivers rally in Kampot

About 100 taxi drivers protested in front of the Kampot Provincial Hall yesterday, claiming the private company running the province-owned parking lot for “tourist” vehicles was charging as much as twice the advertised price, drivers and an NGO representative said.

Taxi driver representative Lay Vannak, 33, said yesterday that drivers who ferry passengers between Kampot and Phnom Penh, Preah Sihanouk and other provinces were being charged up to 12,000 riel (about $3) to park, despite the official price set by provincial authorities being a mere 6,000 riel for “tourist” cars.

“Our six representatives went to submit a petition that we thumb-printed, because the price of the parking space is so high,” he said.

Yon Phally, an investigator for the rights group Licadho, said the company won a 15-year concession to run the lot in 2000, and the lot had indeed charged as much as 12,000 riel for cars, and up to 18,000 to 19,000 riel for vehicles with more seats, which are supposed to pay 8,000 to 9,000.

“We think that the company dared to raise the fee because it was backed by the provincial office, which ignored the taxi drivers’ difficulties.”

Drivers said they had been promised that provincial officials would make a decision on the matter this week, but Kampot provincial governor Khoy Khunhor declined to comment in detail, saying authorities were “sticking to the procedures”.

A worker reached at the lot declined to comment.

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