Phnom Penh municipal police chief Sar Thet has warned that legal action will be taken against anyone who continues using police vehicle plate numbers without proper authorisation.
Thet inspected several police vehicles at the municipal police station on Tuesday and advised unit officials and relevant officials to use the unit’s vehicles properly.
He said it was strictly forbidden to drive them for private use or to serve their family. Such actions, he said, affect the overall functioning of the unit and the organisation.
“Anyone who uses cars with police plate numbers without legal permission must remove them immediately. Otherwise, we will take action without any exception,” he said.
Institute for Road Safety director Kong Ratanak regarded the warning as a wake-up call for those who continue to use unauthorised or fraudulent police licence plates on their vehicles.
“We support the warning, but we would like to see action taken against those using police and the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) licence plates without proper authorisation,” he said.
Ratanak said the authorities should confiscate offending vehicles as state property and file a case to dispatch that person and the evidence to court.
Cars using police and RCAF plates are generally imported without Customs and Excise duties, he said, adding that the most common perpetrators are officials serving in the National Police and the army.
He said no research has been conducted on the number of vehicles using unauthorised police and RCAF licence plates.
National Police spokesman Chhay Kim Khoeun told The Post on Tuesday that the Ministry of Interior is now restricting the issuance of police licence plates to officials for vehicles that do not belong to the unit.
“I don’t have the number of vehicles using police license plates, whether authorised or not. In this case, the ministry is instructing all relevant agencies and institutions to take legal steps promptly to overcome the problem,” he said.
Ministry of National Defence spokesman Un Sovann said it and relevant institutions had investigated and subsequently suppressed the illegal use of RCAF licence plates.
“Those who committed such offenses had their vehicles seized as state-owned property and were sent to court for criminal prosecution,” he said.
Last week, police found and seized three luxury cars using illegal police licence plates. It was suspected that they were imported without paying tax, according to National Road Safety Committee spokesman Chhuon Von on Tuesday.
He said the police were not solely focused on RCAF plates and vehicles with ordinary fraudulent licence plates were seized as well.