Phnom Penh Governor Chea Sophara is offering rewards up to $1,000 to police officers who detain overloaded trucks on the city’s streets, which are often destroyed and expensive to fix.
A directive banning overloaded trucks in the city was circulated nearly a year ago, but little has been done since. Police officers at major intersections, such as Mao Tse-tung and Norodom boulevards, are often seen taking payoffs to allow trucks laden with goods to pass.
“It’s almost one year already for this issue,” Chea Sophara told police and municipal officials Monday. “It is very shameful, so we have to reinforce it.”
The governor said he would pay police who stopped trucks, and punish the owners of the truck.
“I will award $1,000 for each logging truck confiscated,” he said. “And that confiscated truck, I will burn it down near Independence Monument!”
Drivers with overloaded trucks often enter the city late at night or in the hours just before dawn, paying police as much as $300, Chea Sophara said. He said the cost of road repairs was $30 per square meter for a standard tar-paved road.
Monday’s weekly City Hall meeting was attended by high-ranking officers from the municipal and military police. It is their officers who are often guilty of accepting the bribes.
“The job would be done if we are willing to do it,” said Vong Pisen, military police commander for Phnom Penh. “There would be no problem. It must be done because this is the order.”
One municipal official who asked not to be named applauded the offer of a reward as one way to start a crackdown on overloaded trucks. The wage of a police officer can be as low as $30 per month.
“The low-ranking officials are poor. They often receive a bribe,” the municipal official said. “Previously, this order never worked. But the award will help get it done.”