The Phnom Penh department of public works will meet with police and military police today to come up with a plan to register motorbikes before Thursday’s deadline, officials said Sunday.
Phnom Penh Governor Chea Sophara had issued a June 1 deadline for all of the city’s estimated 30,000 motorbikes to be registered, and for their owners to pay a one-time tax of $144.
“Now it is the right time for vehicle owners to go and pay tax and get a plate number,” Chea Sophara said Sunday.
But Nhem Saran, director of public works, said Sunday he isn’t sure how he can do it.
Police and military police may have to be deployed “on every street” to warn drivers to get registered and pay taxes, he said.
So far, only 9,000 motorbike drivers have registered their vehicles at a cost of 4,000 riel apiece, he said. Far fewer—about 100—have come in to pay the $144 tax. Those who don’t pay the tax in time could be subject to fines.
Motorbike taxi drivers interviewed Sunday were skeptical.
“My bike cost $330 three years ago,” said Sok Phalla, a driver in Don Penh district. “I had to borrow this money from my family, and I still haven’t paid them back. So how can I pay a $144 tax?”
Nhem Yi, a driver from Kandal province, also wasn’t sure how he would pay.
“I think it is too expensive for poor people like me,” he said. “I will not refuse to pay the tax, but I will have to pay them whenever I get it.”
How long might that take?
“It will take me at least another year to earn $144 for a tax.”