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Right-hand drive ban enforced

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Right-hand drive vehicles such as these two trucks in Kandal province are given red number plates when operating legally in the country, but are otherwise banned for importation and use. Heng Chivoan

Right-hand drive ban enforced

Military officers working along the Cambodian-Thai border have been ordered to prevent the smuggling of right-hand drive vehicles into the country.

An order signed by Ek Sam Oun, commander of Military Region 5, on September 1 ordered all commanders to cooperate to stop the smuggling through illegal border crossings.

The order added that if any soldier conspired to smuggle right-hand drive vehicles across the border and violated the decision would result in the unit commander facing legal action.

Military commanders stationed along the border must distribute the order to units under their command as soon as possible, it said.

Chuob Vuthy, deputy military commander in Pailin town, told The Post on September 1 that his unit had obtained the letter and vowed to comply.

He said that in the past his unit used to have right-hand drive vehicles, but that was for serving the people.

Vuthy said he had deployed forces in key areas to monitor and prevent smuggling of such vehicles.

“If anybody tries to smuggle a vehicle across a border crossing, the commander in charge of the checkpoint is responsible for it. If the commander is involved in the illegal import, joint measures must be taken along with strict disciplinary action.”

Un Sovanna, spokesman for the Ministry of National Defense said the General Department of Taxation has introduced regulations to prevent the import of right-hand drive vehicles into the country, and that border troops have a role to prevent it.

“Once there is an incident, specialty units call for forces to enforce the law in a transparent and fair manner, because the armed forces are cooperating to protect and enforce the law well,” he said.

Kim Panha, director of the Asia Injury Prevention Foundation, told The Post on September 1 that right-hand drive vehicles are not allowed to be used in the Kingdom because in Cambodia people drive on the right side of the road using left-hand drive vehicles.

He said using right-hand drive vehicles is dangerous when overtaking vehicles on the road.

“In 2015 or 2016, vehicles with right-hand steering were not allowed to be converted to left-hand drive. As a compromise, the government issued a red number plate instead.

“Since then, I thought right-hand drive vehicles were no longer imported, but now there are more imports than ever.

“In principle, I support the ban on the import of right-hand drive vehicles. We have a law but it is not strictly enforced, leading to their imports,” he said.

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