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Traffic police deny bribery claims

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A cement truck is intercepted by a traffic police official as it drives down Chamkar Doung Boulevard in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district. Hong Menea

Traffic police deny bribery claims

Two senior traffic police officials on Sunday denied allegations in an anonymous letter that they have been taking bribes from transport companies to intervene if their vehicles were seized by traffic police.

The anonymous letter said Chev Hak, Phnom Penh municipal deputy police chief in charge of traffic, and Sem Kunthea, Phnom Penh traffic police bureau chief, received between $500 and $1,000 a month from each firm.

“The trucks used ‘PN’ and ‘KT’ stickers on their windscreens. Trucks bearing the stickers have been released immediately after being impounded by traffic police for entering Phnom Penh at the wrong time or for using unauthorised routes,” the letter said.

Hak and Kunthea on Sunday denied the allegations, saying the letter contained “false information”.

“I don’t know whether the anonymous letter was written by a traffic police official or someone else, but it’s not true. It’s an attempt to divide traffic police officials."

“Is it possible that I accept monthly payments between $500 and $1,000 from transport companies in return for not cracking down on them when [I] know that this is illegal?” Hak asked.

Hak said some traffic police officials had been fired for misconduct after being found taking money from people without issuing an invoice.

He said if the writer of the letter was clear about its allegations, he should have complained to the Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) for an investigation rather than releasing the letter.

Large and heavy vehicles, Hak said, are prohibited from entering certain areas in the capital between 6am and 8pm to prevent traffic congestion and accidents.

Though municipal authorities have assigned specific roads for heavy trucks to travel during restricted hours, truck drivers often disobeyed the law.

“[Between January and May] about 30-40 heavy trucks and containers defied the ban daily, and they were fined by traffic police,” said Kunthea.

He said the number of violators had recently decreased noticeably, due to increased public awareness of the ban among transport companies, as well as traffic police stationed at four different locations.

They are on National Road 5 near the terminus of Street 598, at the intersection of Street 342 with Street 598 northeast of Grand Phnom Penh, at Northbridge International School on Street 2004, and Chbar Ampov park on National Road 1.

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