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  • Writer's pictureKirk

Cambodia Police Incident

I was traveling by motortrike from the airport in Phnom Phen to my hotel at the Hyatt in the city. I had already rejected a taxi cab driver who opened with a gouge rate, and settled on a smaller motortrike driver whose 1st off was reasonable for the local economy. I usually try to reward the more honest workers when traveling.

I agreed with the driver's $9 price and we were off to the hotel. Now I am accustomed to aggressive bike riders in Asia so I sat patiently as he maneuvered through traffic. Not only was he aggressive through traffic, but also at traffic lights. This would finally catch up with him.

My driver in traffic:

It is normal in much of Asia to see a half dozen drivers run a red light at a time. For good reason too, the red lights are very long at many intersections. My driver was already marginal on one light but less marginal on another. It was clearly red and he ran through it along with a few other bike drivers

My driver in traffic (boxed in so not too aggressive here):

Well, he was unfortunate on that light. There were police officers directing the law breakers to the side where they were greeted by ticket writing officers. He obediently pulled over and was escorted to an awaiting officer willing to collect some silver sovereigns from his pocket.

My driver in yellow shirt crouched down behind other driver:

My driver was one of several identified as law breakers. He was speaking with the officer and I pulled out my camera to take a photo.

Then I began to video:

Well, it didn't take long before I realized that was a big no-no. You can see the officer writing the ticket look up at me. I knew instantly he was not pleased so I tried to hide my camera phone. But...too late.

An officer approached me from the other side of the trike saying no, no, no! Then my driver came over to the bike to help me. He calmed the officer down, and then told me it was illegal to photo officers performing their duties in public.

What? Really? I wonder why that is? Well, I didn't need an explanation. I was eager to stay on the trike and not make little ones out of big ones (ok I probably wouldn't do hard labor).

My driver informed me to delete and I did. He then took my phone and brought it to the officer at the desk for inspection. He was satisfied and nothing further transpired. Whew!

Anyway, fast forward to the driver's return. I asked him what happened and he said he was fined. He said they wanted a $20 fine but he negotiated it to $6, knowing the money was going in their pockets as is common practice in many areas of the world. He said he told them all he had was $6 and he accepted.

Later he dropped me off and I offered to pay his $6 fine, but I told him I only had a $20 bill and a $10 bill. They use US currency as readily as their own in Cambodia.

The fare was $9 so I was willing to give him the $10 bill for that, but I told him I would require change for my $20 bill if I were to pay his fine on top of the fare. Well, it turns out he lied to the officer as he had a $5 bill for change all of a sudden!

Well, you might be wondering why I still have the video of the officer I showed here if they forced me to delete it. Turns out they're not too adept at how most camera phones work. I deleted the photo and video but it went to the "recently deleted" file which I readily retrieved when out of danger! I just hope the USA doesn't have an extradition agreement with Cambodia!

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Mike Wells
Mike Wells
17 mar
Valutazione 5 stelle su 5.

Very interesting encounter. I never had those great interactions with the police. I ended up more confrontational

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17 mar
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Yes…I remember…

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