DAUN Penh district police on Wednesday morning confiscated about 15 tuk-tuks that were parked along Sisowath Quay after accusing their owners of turning the vehicles into around-the-clock homes and engaging in “anarchic” behaviour, a district official said.
“We do not want them to park their tuk-tuks along Sisowath Quay, because it makes the road smaller and affects the feeling of tourists,” said deputy district governor Sok Penhvuth.
“They even hang mosquito nets on the tuk-tuks when they sleep. And they also play cards. It is anarchic. Those things affect the reputation of the city, so we have cleared them for public order,” he added.
Sok Penhvuth also said that district police had driven down Sisowath Quay shortly before Khmer New Year to inform drivers via loudspeaker that a crackdown was imminent.
He said the tuk-tuks would be held at the district office until their owners came for “education” and signed an agreement that they would not sleep on Sisowath Quay again.
However, Vann Sitha, one of the tuk-tuk drivers whose vehicle was confiscated, said the drivers hadn’t been sleeping along the riverside in the first place, and that police had taken the tuk-tuks without telling them what they had done wrong.
He said the police had confiscated a total of 27 tuk-tuks, all of which were parked on Street 108 when police arrived.
Vorn Pao, president of the Independent Democratic Informal Economy Association, a group that represents more than 3,000 motorcycle and car taxi drivers as well as tuk-tuk drivers in four provinces, said that drivers who do sleep in their vehicles generally don’t park along or near the riverside until the early hours of the morning, and that therefore they do not affect traffic or tourists.
“If this is an issue of public order, the authorities should forgive them because they do not sleep or park in the daytime. They are poor, so they work day and night,” Vorn Pao said.
Sok Penhvuth said that, as part of the effort to make Daun Penh district more appealing to tourists, authorities had on Wednesday also detained 40 “vagrants” and 14 “gangsters”.