Phnom Penh Municipality has ordered all car and motorbike drivers to acquire new-look license plates or risk having their vehicles impounded, officials said June 27.
The municipality ordered drivers who have not done so already to buy the newer plates, in a directive dated June 15 and signed by Phnom Penh Governor Kep Chuktema.
“Old number plates are required to change to new ones as soon as possible,” said Chreang Sophan, deputy municipal governor in charge of transport. “If drivers do not follow the directive, authorities will keep those vehicles temporarily until the owners fill out forms to get a new plate,” he said.
There are no orders to fine drivers with outdated plates, he added. The municipal department of public works and transport issues license plates.
Tin Prasoer, chief of the municipal traffic police, said he has asked his staff to inform drivers about the directive. “Traffic police just stop vehicles and direct them to get a new plate. We do not fine them,” he said.
He added, however, that some drivers are deterred by the idea of applying for a new license and opt to give policemen money instead.
“Drivers just give police money and they go,” he said, though he added that this is not official policy.
SRP lawmaker Yim Sovann expressed skepticism about the directive. “It is the way to make more money,” he added.
Heng Siv Eng, a 26-year-old motorbike driver, said she found the directive unfair. “It is not right because we have paid for an old [license plate] already,” she said.
Socheata Sann, Handicap International Belgium’s program manager, said a new motorbike license costs $7.50 and a new license for a car goes for around $27.
Peng Sokun, deputy director of the municipal public works and transport department, said that the fees associated with getting a new license are inevitable.
“How can we give them for free when we make a new plate and license for them?” he asked.
(Additional reporting by Emily Lodish)