Official says last week's ultimatum marked beginning of one-month compliance window.
A police officer checks confiscated police plates during a crackdown last week.
FOCUS ON HELMET LAW PLANNED FOR JUNE
Traffic Police will launch a new effort on June 1 to enforce helmet regulations, according to a municipal press release issued Monday. El Narin, deputy chief of the Traffic Police, told the Post on Tuesday that officials believed compliance with existing rules was insufficient. He said 75 percent of motorbike drivers were wearing helmets, along with only 25 percent of passengers. The fine for not wearing a helmet is 3,000 riels (US$0.75). El Narin said the number of drivers and passengers not wearing helmets tended to increase at night, when "most road accidents happen". He said some drivers had complained that helmets made it difficult to breathe and caused headaches.
AN RCAF official said Tuesday that the drivers of vehicles bearing unauthorised military plates had three weeks to exchange them for civilian plates before the vehicles would be registered as state property.
"We have informed all persons whose vehicles have unauthorised RCAF plates to take them off," said Chao Phirun, director general of RCAF's Technical and Material Department.
He said Prime Minister Hun Sen's May 19 speech at the Ministry of Interior, during which he said the drivers of vehicles with unauthorised RCAF plates were flouting the Land Traffic Law, had marked the beginning of a one-month window for violators to change their plates.
Article 91 of the law, which went into effect in March 2007, gave the drivers of private vehicles bearing unauthorised military and police plates one year to switch to private plates.
The law stipulates that violators face two to five years in prison and a fine of between 4 million riels and 10 million riels (US$970 and $2,424).
Hun Sen said in an April 30 speech at Sihanoukville Autonomous Port that the government would register as state property the vehicles of
people who did not comply with the law.
The law does not stipulate that violators can lose ownership of their vehicles, though officials have in recent weeks cited this as a likely punishment while omitting any mention of fines or incarceration.
Rush to comply
Chao Phirun said Hun Sen's April 30 speech and subsequent warnings had prompted 90 percent of violators to remove their unauthorised military plates.
Chao Phirun added that there were 2,000 vehicles authorised to bear RCAF plates.
As for police plates, Luy Thhin, director of the Ministry of Interior's Traffic Office, said the office had in recent weeks received on average of 10 and 15 police plates per day from drivers who had decided to register for civilian plates.
National Police spokesman Kirt Chantharith said police officers had removed plates from 40 cars found to be bearing unauthorised tags so far this month.
"If drivers do not respect the law, they will face the consequences," he said.
He said there were 1,000 vehicles authorised to bear police plates.