Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Radios rounded up in capital




Radios rounded up in capital

Police check a tuk-tuk driver’s ID card and the registration number of a walkie-talkie yesterday in Phnom Penh during an operation to curb the use of illegal walkie-talkies.
Police check a tuk-tuk driver’s ID card and the registration number of a walkie-talkie yesterday in Phnom Penh during an operation to curb the use of illegal walkie-talkies. NATIONAL POLICE

Radios rounded up in capital

Phnom Penh police yesterday launched a coordinated operation to seize illegal walkie-talkies from tuk-tuk and motorbike taxi drivers, in order to rid the capital of alleged “anarchy”.

The campaign is the initiative of the capital’s chief and reportedly comes in response to complaints that drivers’ use of unlicensed walkie-talkies not only facilitates vigilantism and street fights, but also intercepts the communication of authorities, businesses and embassies.

“In the past, these groups have collided with cars and other motorbikes and called their friends to confront the other party,” explained the director of the Ministry of Interior’s Radio Communication Department, Min Sovanna.

“When the police arrived, they would disappear, creating confusion because police also hold communication radios. Tuk-tuks and motorbikes do not have the right to use these communication radios. We apply that rule equally.”

According to Sovanna, authorities will, as a first step, seize walkie-talkies, giving owners a chance to apply for permission from the Ministry of Telecommunication to use the appropriate frequency to avoid future technical problems.

Some 36 walkie-talkies were confiscated from tuk-tuks yesterday, but none were taken from motodops, whom authorities suggested were given a heads-up about the operation.

The deputy director of the Tonle Bassac Tuk-Tuk Association (CCTA), Soth Sen, whose device was temporarily seized, claimed that his group used only short-range radios to contact its members in the Aeon Mall area.

He said that he would not object to registering their devices with the Ministry to run his business legally.

“I don’t know why we should have to request the frequency, as we buy the radios with an ID,” he said. “But if they want us to ask for permission, I will do so as it makes things easier for me.”

Ly Salin of the Independent Democracy of Informal Economy Association (IDEA) admitted that some tuk-tuk drivers are guilty of using walkie-talkies inappropriately, but that this is not representative of the business generally.

“There are messes in individual cases, but police should not judge all drivers by this. Authorities should target those causing the phenomenon rather than taking wholesale action,” he said.

IDEA says that more than 1,000 of its members are using legal walkie-talkies bought from a licensed local store. According to Salin, walkie-talkies make some tasks easier for drivers, such as picking up passengers, but he also acknowledged that they were sometimes used in precisely the fashion authorities say they hope to curb.

“Sometimes we tend to act like police who alert each other to tackle a thief or robber along the road,” he said.

IDEA president Vorn Pov, however, insisted that the group’s use of walkie-talkies was legal, and defended drivers’ rights to self-defence.

“If police could help us efficiently and quickly, we would go to them when we have problems,” Pov said. “As civil society, we do not act illegally. We only hope the authorities will be open to legitimate requests to licence walkie-talkies.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Body of woman killed in Bangkok returns

    The Cambodian embassy in Thailand is working to repatriate the body of a casino dealer who was shot dead in Bangkok on Monday night. Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation spokesman Kuy Kuong told The Post on Wednesday that officials are preparing paperwork to

  • Chikungunya hits 15 provinces, says gov’t

    Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said on Thursday that the chikungunya outbreak in the Kingdom has spread to 15 provinces. Some 1,700 people are now suspected to have the disease. Vandine urged people to prevent its further spread by eliminating shelters for the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes

  • Gov’t exempts visa A and B holders from Covid fees

    Airline passengers who are diplomats and officials of international organisations holding Type A and B visas for travel to Cambodia are exempted from paying Covid-19 testing fees, said the Ministry of Health in its latest adjustment of rules on Wednesday. Health Minister Mam Bun Heng

  • Bill covering dress code draws ire

    Ministry of Interior secretary of state Ouk Kim Lek responded on Tuesday to criticism concerning a draft law that would ban women from wearing overly revealing clothing, saying that input from all parties will be considered as the law moves through the promulgation process. Several

  • Passing the test: Is Cambodia’s education system failing its people?

    The Kingdom’s education system needs to grow its people but some flaws might stifle​ this growth Coming from the Khmer Rouge occupation, with the loss of many scholars and academicians and a collapsed government, the education system had to be reconstructed from scratch – one

  • What’s the deal with Cambodia and China’s FTA?

    Cambodia’s Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China kicks off a series of FTAs in future but for now, critics wonder what else the parties could bring to the table apart from what it already has to date By the end of this year, Cambodia