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PM’s response to licence plate problem ‘too little’

Prime Minister Hun Sen has called on citizens to report the illegal use of army, police and civil servant licence plates, while at the same time defending the government’s regulation of the plates – a response that an opposition parliamentarian said was insufficient to combat the problem.

Cambodia National Rescue Party lawmaker Um Sam An had previously forwarded a letter to National Assembly President Heng Samrin asking the government to crack down on irregularities in the use of the plates, which are both improperly used by officials for unofficial business and illegally by those impersonating police and soldiers.

In his response, dated March 13, the premier defended the practice of giving out such plates, and maintained that his government had “paid much attention to eliminate the use of fake” plates.

“The government encourages people to participate and report the cases of irregular use of the plates for legal action,” Hun Sen’s letter continues.

Sam An, however, contested the prime minister’s characterisation of the enforcement, and noted that the plates are still used to commit crimes.

”The crackdown on the licence plates is done very rarely,” he said.

Am Sam Ath, a senior investigator with the rights group Licadho, also noted the use of the plates in crimes ranging from illegally transporting timber to tax evasion, adding that a failure to curb their use “will seriously damage the national image”.

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