The General Department of Customs and Excise’s Department of Crime Prevention and Suppression this week seized approximately 20 untaxed vehicles which bore illegal government licence plates.
The department’s Customs Unit 6 chief Preap Kearath led the seizures in cooperation with Customs Unit 1 on Tuesday and Wednesday. The vehicles reportedly bore Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) and police licence plates, but were not registered with the Ministry of Economy and Finance.
The operation, which was also in cooperation with Military Police, took place in the capital’s Sen Sok and Tuol Kork districts.
Military Police spokesman Eng Hy said he did not know the exact number of vehicles confiscated, saying his officers merely provided customs officials with security for the operation.
He added that the use of police or Military Police licence plates on untaxed vehicles is illegal and violators will be punished.
Affiliated Network for Social Accountability executive director San Chey said there are two kinds of untaxed vehicles in Cambodia; vehicles imported illegally and those locally constructed using different parts to produce a new vehicle. He said the seized vehicles were imported without paying proper taxes due to corruption.
Chey said the RCAF and police plates were used to protect the vehicles in case they were used in crimes.
“The important thing is a joint effort to stop this kind of crime, not only by customs officials. Customs officials are responsible for registration, but there are other authorities involved."
“Those who use RCAF or police licence plates illegally are committing crimes – including falsifying public documents and faking an identity for the vehicle. We saw the authorities arrest those who evaded tax and used military and police number plates illegally.” he said.