More than 3,000 vehicles were seized this year from motorists driving in the wrong direction nearby the home of Prime Minister Hun Sen and Independence Monument, an official said yesterday.
Nhet Samath, chief of the public order and traffic police office in Daun Penh district, yesterday said 3,035 motorbikes, 367 tuk-tuks and 130 cars were impounded by traffic police for driving in the wrong direction.
“We used to stop drivers and impound their vehicles at a rate of about 30 to 40 per day, but then the number began to decrease,” Mr Samath said. “These days, we impound one or two motorcycles per day, and sometimes we don’t even get one per day.”
The crackdown in the area began at the beginning of the year after Mr Hun Sen threatened to sack the Daun Penh district governor and criticised traffic police when he noticed many people driving in the wrong direction by his home.
In January, Mr Hun Sen said many drivers violate the law at the roundabout near Independence Monument and his home by driving in the wrong direction.
“The biggest problem, I do not blame the people yet, but blame law enforcement officers, why don’t they look at this case? How many capital governors and Daun Penh district governors have retired?” he asked. “I sent a message saying if this happens again, the first one to be removed is the governor of Daun Penh district.”
“The people who travel by the Independence Monument, the ironic thing is this street is in front of the Prime Minister’s house. This new road, at the Independence Monument, a new road that was born in the Techo generation, is a shameful road,” he added.
Mr Samath said that the vehicles seized this year thus far were towed to the municipal police station, where owners can reclaim their vehicles after undergoing re-education about traffic laws.
“They are also fined about $6 for those who drive on the opposite side of the road,” Mr Samarith said. “We don’t always impound the vehicles for first offenders, sometimes we just educate them to obey traffic laws.”
“Actually, most of them knew it’s wrong to drive on the wrong side of the road,” he added. “But they still did it anyway because they didn’t see any officers monitoring traffic.”
Mr Samath said all drivers must respect traffic laws and police in order to reduce the amount of traffic accidents in the Kingdom.
A student who asked not to be named yesterday said he was stopped once by police for driving his motorbike on the opposite side of the road in front of the Prime Minister’s home.
“I was so scared at the time because I didn’t know the roads here in the capital,” the student said. “I was following other riders even if I knew it was wrong. But the officer allowed me to leave after I told him that I’m new in the city.”