Siem Reap Governor Kim Bunsong reminded business owners late last week to obey a long-standing, and often flouted, ban on motorcycle and scooter rentals to tourists.
In the letter, dated Thursday, Bunsong urges business owners to follow the directive in order to maintain public order and reduce traffic accidents, or risk facing closure.
“It is completely forbidden to rent or lend transportation methods like motorbikes and cars to foreigners . . . except bicycles or electric bicycles,” it reads, before warning violators they could face “legal action”.
The ban has been in place in Siem Reap town since 2002 but has been openly defied by businesses.
Heng Bunly, owner of a motorbike rental shop, said he just started his business a few months ago, and said he hadn’t heard about the recent announcement or the standing ban. “This will affect my business,” he said. “Before, I put electric bicycles [for rent], but not many people would rent them, so I changed them for motorbikes.”
He added that if authorities want to enforce the ban then it shouldn’t only affect Siem Reap business owners. “The rate of traffic accidents is very small,” he said. “This is just a pretext. If they ban, the ban should be for the whole country.”
Teng Chan Nath, deputy provincial police chief, said there were eight or nine traffic accidents in the first nine months of this year involving foreigners, none of which were fatal.