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ID cards coming unglued

A man holds a Cambodian national identification card earlier this month in Phnom Penh. Expired glue that was used to produce the cards has seen layers unexpectedly peeling off.
A man holds a Cambodian national identification card earlier this month in Phnom Penh. Expired glue that was used to produce the cards has seen layers unexpectedly peeling off. Hong Menea

ID cards coming unglued

Expired glue used in the production of Cambodia’s new generation of national identification cards is causing the top layer of some to peel off, though it’s unclear exactly how many of the 6.4 million issued since 2012 are affected, according to a Ministry of Interior official.

Deputy director of the Ministry’s General Department of Identification Chan Kim Seng said the problem, which sees the plastic layer containing an individual’s personal details come unstuck from the card, was discovered in the middle of this year and HSC, the company which produces the cards, as well as passports, for the ministry had acknowledged the mistake.

“The company has apologised and promised to repair it,” Kim Seng said.

He said “less than 10 per cent” of those issued since the government began issuing the new cards in 2012 were impacted.

But even that would mean potentially 600,000 cards could need replacing, a further blow to efforts to issue 10.9 million identity cards before the 2017 commune elections.

However, another Department of Identification official, who declined to be named, said the body had only received about 15 complaints. He added that most of the flawed cards were issued in 2014.

The department, in a recent letter, encouraged people with faulty cards to seek out commune or district authorities for a replacement at no extra cost.

Yesterday, a receptionist at HSC, which also has interests in hospitality, cosmetics and sand dredging, said the company spokesperson was abroad and unavailable for comment.

National Election Commission spokesman Hang Puthea said the issue would not impact voter registration as people could also use their old IDs.

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