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Gov’t warns fly-by-night mechanics

Authorities inspect an unfinished truck chassis that was being made with scrap at a garage in Phnom Penh last week. National Police
Authorities inspect an unfinished truck chassis that was being made with scrap at a garage in Phnom Penh last week. National Police

Gov’t warns fly-by-night mechanics

The Ministry of Interior on Friday threatened legal action against lawbreaking auto shops that work without a licence or illegally assemble vehicles from scrap parts.

Ministry officials, who have inspected 150 auto shops since the start of the year, found that only 20 per cent had registered with the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, saying the rest are illegal. Even some of the legal ones have committed crimes by making questionably safe vehicles as per their customers’ orders.

Public Order Department deputy director Ti Long said that the ministry will first educate violators. If they then don’t mend their ways, their shops will be closed down and operators will be sent to court.

“Their garages are illegal and they reassemble the vehicles [in ways that are] even more illegal, since they satisfy their customers and not the norms of Ministry of Public Works and Transportation,” said Long.

Preap Chanvibol, director of the transportation department at the Transportation Ministry, said that assembly shops require a special permit and at least one engineer on staff.

Cumulative tariffs on car imports will soon rise to about 130 per cent of vehicle cost according to Antoine Jeanson, operations director at Automotive Asia (Cambodia), but tariffs for scrap metal and parts range from 0 to 35 per cent.

Illegal dealers get a cost advantage by importing scrap and insurance write-offs and assembling custom vehicles from the pieces, Jeanson continued, and their customers also reap the savings.

However, the resulting vehicles aren’t built to standards and can be very unsafe, according to the Ministry of Interior and authorised importers.

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