City Hall Officials To Monitor Taxi Extortion

The municipality has ap­pointed two of its own to oversee the taxi parking lots on Chroy Chang­var pen­insula, where drivers have re­ported rampant extortion, Phnom Penh officials said Sunday.

The municipality also is ap­pealing to taxi drivers to report demands for bribes immediately and to pre­sent evidence supporting their charges.

Heng Vantha, vice chief of the mu­n­icipal cabinet, said the two

an­ti-graft officials began their work last week. If extortion continues, he said, the lots will be closed.

In mid-August, the municipality barred all vehicles transporting goods and persons from entering Phnom Penh to ease traffic congestion. But the new arrangement has been rife with problems, usually stemming from park­ing lot officials demanding more than the city’s set fee, Heng Vantha said.

“The [newly appointed] officials will serve as watchdogs to mon­itor the lot owners’ activities re­­lated to taking fees from taxi dri­vers,” he said. “But we need par­ticipation from the taxi drivers to stop the extortion acts.”

Sean Sophorn, 39, who drives a taxi between Kompong Cham town and the capital, said Sunday that when the lots first opened, he paid about $1 or $1.25 to park. Now, he said, he must pay be­tween $2.50 and $5.00, or the lot keepers will vandalize his car.

Ton Mao, 45, has driven his taxi on Route 6A since 1996. “The mun­icipality has no will to close the lots because…officials get benefits from lot owners, which is why lot owners dare to extort,” he said.

Peng Sokun of the municipality’s public works and transportation department said previously that the official fees were $0.37 for

12-seat taxis, $1.25 for 20-seat vehicles and $2.50 for trucks.

By Ku            “The [newly appointed] officials will serve as watchdogs to monitor the lot owners’ activities related to taking fees from taxi drivers,” he said. “But we need participation from the taxi drivers to stop the extortion acts.”

Sean Sophorn, 39, who drives a taxi between Kompong Cham town and the capital, said Sunday that when the lots first opened, he paid about $1.00 or $1.25 to park. Now, he said, he must pay between $2.50 and $5.00, or the lot keepers will vandalize his car.

Ton Mao, 45, has been running Route 6A in his taxi since 1996. “The municipality has no will to close the lots, because municipal officials get benefits from lot owners, which is why lot owners dare to extort.” he said.

Peng Sokun, vice director of the municipality’s public works and transportation department, said previously that the official fees are $0.37 for 12-seat taxis, $1.25 for 20-seat vehicles and $2.50 for trucks.

 

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