Official Raps Continued Fees for Family Books

Despite orders to stop, officials in some areas of Phnom Penh and Kandal province continue to  charge families from $10 to $20 for family books.

The government-issued paper booklets, in which families list all members, serve as proof that those listed are legal Cambodian citizens. Previously, the government charged $1.40 per book. But last January, officials stopped charging, citing the financial hardships for many people after last year’s flooding and several poor harvests.

The government also dropped the family book fee to encourage Cambodians to register for ID cards, which require a family book to prove legal citizenship, said Ouk Kim Lek, director of the Interior Ministry’s administrative police department.

Without the ID cards, Cam­bodians cannot get passports or sell land.

“Some people do not understand the necessity of having a family book and an ID card,” Ouk Kim Lek said. “If you have them, you are a Cambodian citizen. If not, you are living here illegally.”

Liv Mauv, the Interior Min­istry’s deputy director of the Ad­min­istrative Police Department, acknowledged that family books are still being sold. But Tuesday he said officials who continue to take money risk being fined.

“If they continue this illegal collection, it will have a bad effect on the government,” he said, adding that an investigation has been launched to see if officials in other pro­vinces are selling books.

“We repeatedly told police officers and governors not to take money from people, and asked them to cooperate and help the government” so that people would apply for ID cards, he said.

The cards, he said, “will also help the authorities monitor bad people and robbers.”



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