Illegal fine leads to protest

Trucks carrying cassava block the road. Supplied

Trucks carrying cassava block the road. Supplied

Police in Rattanakiri province’s Trapaing Chres commune criticized weigh station officers on National Road 78A on Sunday afternoon after an illegal fine caused a four-hour protest and bumper-to-bumper traffic.
More than 10 cassava truck owners blocked National Road 78A for four hours at a weigh station in the commune, according to human rights officials and police.
Deputy district police chief Ren Muth said the police at the weigh station were part of the problem.
“The weigh station was implemented against the law. When the truck was overloaded, they charged more than the law says about the fine. The provincial authorities also came and a reconciliation was reached,” he said.
“The provincial level told the officials to follow the laws about the fines and the truck owners were exempt from being fined. They signed the contract not to repeat the overloading otherwise they will be fined,” he said.
Din Khonny, a provincial Adhoc coordinator, said the road blockade started at about 1pm when weigh station officials and one of the truck drivers had a dispute over a potential fine.
“The authorities stopped one truck overloaded with cassava and forced them to pay the fine, but the owner did not agree, so more than 10 other truck owners who came after started to park their trucks to force the authorities to release their member’s truck,” he said.
“It was a mistake by both sides. The authority said the truck was overloaded and they asked them to pay fines, while the truck owner said he is only commissioned to carry the cassava, so he did not have the money to pay the fine.”
Police eventually gave into the demands of the truck owners, releasing the truck at about 5pm because traffic became extremely congested and local residents started to complain. Although the truck owners were allowed to leave without paying the fine, they were forced to sign a contract saying they would not do this again.
Neither provincial governor Thorng Savun nor transport department chief Sun Polin could be reached for comment yesterday.

Source: Khmer Times

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