A recent directive issued by National Police Commissioner Neth Savoeun orders police to begin a crackdown May 1 on those illegally using police license plates on their vehicles, according to a copy of the directive.
“We want the policeman who use the vehicle with the police plate number to use it in terms of work,” national police spokesman Kiet Chantharith said by telephone Wednesday.
The directive, issued on Feb 4, comes almost a year after a similar, Jan 23, 2008, order warning officers with police plates on their private vehicles to have applied for new civilian plates by Feb 8, 2008.
Article 93 of the new traffic law, which came into effect Jan 1, also forbids the use of police plates on private vehicles.
Kiet Chantharith said owners of private vehicles displaying police plates will be fined starting May 1.
He added that the new directive was issued merely as a reminder, saying: “We have done well previously, and we just want to make the condition better and better.”
But Kiet Chantharith added that no police are using their plates illegally at this time.
“All the motor vehicles with pol-ice plate numbers are allowed to [use them],” he said, reiterating that the police directive was just a reminder.
Measuring compliance with the new traffic law and the 2008 directive is difficult, municipal traffic police chief Tin Prasoer said by telephone Wednesday.
“Police are always facing problems stopping cars or motos to check the number plate,” he said.
SRP lawmaker Yim Sovann said by telephone Wednesday that it is usually people in power that use the police license plates, and that officers would be hesitant to pull over other police officers. He said he doubts the enforcement will ever happen.
“I have heard it over again and again but I have seen nothing change to date,” he said. “People who can use that kind of plate are powerful people, and the police can only fine ordinary people.”