500 Protest Honda Motorbike Tax in Siem Reap

About 500 people angered over the high tax levied against Honda motorbikes threatened to destroy the Siem Reap customs headquarters Monday before being calmed by police.

Eight demonstrators were ar­rested by military police and charged with inciting violence, according to staff of Siem Reap parliamentarian Touch Saru.

Siem Reap province military police chief Brak Chan­toeun could not be reached for comment for independent confirmation Monday evening.

A dep­uty provincial police chief said he was unaware of the arrests.

The demonstrators were upset by a new $200 to $250 tax on the Honda Dream C100 motorbike, according to Tan Chay, deputy provincial police chief.

Tan Chay said both he and his police officers also are upset by the tax and have sent a letter of complaint to the government.

He said his officers—fearing the protest could escalate—ask­ed the demonstrators to calm down. “We knew if we did not stop them, maybe 1,000 demonstrators would come.”

Tan Chay said he was unaware the military police arrested eight of the demonstrators.

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