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Hefty fees follow national ID card foibles

Hefty fees follow national ID card foibles

In response to complaints that police are charging large fees to re-issue national

ID cards, the Ministry of Interior warned citizens to be very careful about dates,

places, spellings and other information when they apply for the cards.

Khieu Sopheak, spokesman for the Ministry, said if a mistake is made on the card,

people must inform the officers in their commune and get their cards corrected in

30 days after issued.

Pen Raksmey, a university student in Takeo province, said that when his new ID card

contained a mistake in the spelling of his name, he couldn't go back to get it fixed

right away. When he was able to return the police told him he had to pay $30 for

a new one. "He ordered me to pay $10 in advance and set two weeks for me to

get the new ID," said Raksmey. He said he had no choice but to pay because he

was applying for a scholarship and he needed the card.

"I wonder why the authorities don't pay more attention in making the ID cards,"

Raksmey said. "Sometime they type in the wrong spelling, place of birth, date

or sex," he said. "For me, it was the wrong spelling in my name."

Lav Chhiv Eav, the rector of Royal University of Phnom Penh, said that the national

identity card is posing problems for Cambodian citizens and particularly students

from rural areas where not everyone has family records recording the correct date

and place of birth, family name and spelling.

He said the university requires that a student's education records match the ID card.

If the ID card is wrong, it has to be fixed first. "If they want to change their

ID cards to correct the school records, they have to go to the authority officers

to help them legally."

Son Chhay, a parliamentarian with the Sam Rainsy Party, said that the Minister of

Interior's procedure requiring police officers to make and correct national ID cards

isn't working.

"MoI should give this work to the commune councils because they know the problems

of their people and they live close them," he said. Chhay suggested that perhaps

police don't know how to type well on computers they use in registering people for

the cards, or perhaps they are deliberately asking for bribes to delay or speed up

the process for people. ID cards are needed, for example, in voting.

Chhay said he had heard of police asking for $100 to re-issue a national ID card.

Sopheak said it was not MoI policy to charge fees but he confirmed that some people

do pay extra money to get cards re-issued faster.

"Some people spent an amount of money in order to correct their ID. They want

to increase the speed of making their cards and get them as soon as possible,"

the MoI official said.

"The police officers are working hard on this project," he said. "In

reality we are trying hard in order to complete all our obligations," he said.

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