Street Side Vendors Paying Money – Wednesday, 1.7.2009

Posted on 2 July 2009. Filed under: Week 619 |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 619

“Phnom Penh: Nan, a tall guy wearing civilian dress, about 50 years old, walked into a small shop selling coffee and kuyteav [noodle soup], along the Preah Sihanouk Boulevard, shook hands with the shop owner and then walked out immediately without eating anything. Actually, that is the activity of a policeman, and it is said that he comes to collect money from that shop regularly.

“Just with a brief look, no one can notice that this is police activity to collect money. One may think that this is a greeting between friends who have just met each other, but after that man had left, the waiters said that he always comes to this shop, early every month.

“The coffee and kuyteav shop owner refused to provide any information about paying money to that official, but the waiters said that their boss regularly pays money to that man.

“One waiter said, ‘I don’t know how much my boss pays him, but I saw he held money in his palm before he shook hands with him.’

“Besides collecting of money from vendors doing legal business with name of the business properly displayed on a name plate, also some street vendors in Phnom Penh said that they regularly pay money in order to ensure that their business operations go smoothly.

“A 35 year-old man who is a motor bike mechanic, offering his services along a street in Phnom said – without giving his name – that he has to pay money to the authorities regularly, even though he earns only little, from Riel 20,000 [approx. US$5] to Riel 25,000 [approx. US$6] per day.

“He added that besides paying US$45 for rent to the house owner, he also has to pay US$10 to US$15 to the local authorities so that he is permitted to run his business there.

“He added that he does not know from which unit the man who comes to collect the money is, but they just told him that he has to pay, otherwise he will not be allowed to set up his business there.

“He went on to say, ‘They just told that their superiors order them to collect the money, otherwise their superiors will not allow me to run my business.’

“Though this 35-year-old man does not know who they are, he always pays them at the end of every month. He is afraid that they otherwise might confiscate motorbike spare parts and other materials used in his business.

“He said, ‘I pay the commune US$5 and the district US$5 and sometimes US$5 more to environment and sanitation officials.’

“Besides the motorbike mechanic, also a woman selling and has a service providing several mobile phones for people to call at the Olympic Stadium, spoke also about people coming to collect money.

“She said, ‘Every day, I have to pay Riel 1,000 [approx. US$0.20] for tax and sanitation and I have to pay Riel 20,000 to the police per month. This does not include the Riel 40,000 [approx. US$10] for the rent of the place.’

“In addition to the above quoted sources, people who run small businesses along the streets in the city always complain in similar ways. They do not know who those people are who come to collect money from them, and by whom they are ordered to do this. They pay money in exchange for allowing them to run their businesses to feed their children and wives as they are afraid that they confiscate and destroy their business belongings.

“A high ranking official of the Phnom Penh Municipality refused to comment on the above problem, saying that he knows nothing about it, and he suggested to seek information from the local authorities, and especially from the vendors who had claimed that the authorities are behind this going to collect money.

“The vice governor of the Phnom Penh Municipality, Mr. Chreang Sophan, said by telephone in the evening of 25 June 2009, ‘Sorry! The municipality does not know anything about this case, and it relates to the problems of those who give local orders. You should ask the local officials!’

“Related to the complaints of these street vendors, the president of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights said that business operations on the streets are illegal and do affect municipal order, as the streets belong to all citizens, but the authorities should make it easy for them to earn their living.

“He added, ‘Many countries, also including developed countries, still leave the possibility for the poor to do such business – but what is different is that these countries created proper laws for them.’

“He went on to say that if the authorities can create a proper law and order framework for them, they will probably follow it.’

“He said, ‘If such regulations were created properly, these people are not violators of the order, but they might become more active to make the city lively.’

“A person who has been abroad and asked not to be named, said that not one of the many countries visited, totally prohibits small businesses along the streets. What is important is to properly organize the vendors. For instance, in Thailand, just along the Sukhumwit road, there are many things on display for sale along several kilometers, in some places there is almost no path left to walk. But there a small economy and tourism are very lively. Thus, the authorities should think of this problem, but not say that they know nothing.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4934, 1.6.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #224, 1.6.2009

  • Malaysia Invests in Cambodia in a New Electric Energy Project Worth US$150 Million [the energy is to be produced from the burning of coal, with 100 megawatt power output, and will be implemented by the Universal Holding Berhad in 2012 in Sihanoukville]
  • The National Assembly Adopts a Law Eliminating All Forms of Discrimination against Women
  • Iraqi People Celebrate the Day That the United States of America Withdraws Some Troops [from Iraq on 30 June 2009]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1984, 1.6.2009

  • Samdech Hun Sen: The Ammunition that Exploded [at Takhmao, Kandal] Was to Be Sent to the Border [with Thailand] to Protect the Territorial Integrity
  • The State Spends More Than US$2 Million for This Year’s Secondary School [Grade 9] Examination Preparation [there are 15,419 student candidates]
  • 100 Children Die Each Year of Dengue Fever in Cambodia
  • UN Secretary-General Calls On Myanmar to Release All Political Prisoners

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #436, 1.6.2009

  • [Sam Rainsy Party] Parliamentarians Ask the President of the Parliament and the President of France to Deliver Document Related to Kampuchea Krom Land [now the southern territory of Vietnam]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6690, 1.6.2009

  • Another Plane Crashed in the Indian Ocean with 153 People on Board; One Child Is Found Alive [the number of causalities is not reported yet]
  • [20] Journalists Are Trained How to Cover Information about the Economy and the Environment [this event is organized by the Club of Cambodian Journalists and is supported by the US Embassy]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3798, 1.6.2009

  • Civil Society and Some Citizens Are Concerned after Hearing that the Government Plans to Make All Hospital Autonomous [that means the money earned from patients is the incomes of the respective hospitals; there is concern that when such a method is applied, poor people will not receive free treatments]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4934, 1.6.2009

  • The Paying of Money of Street Vendors
  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Warns to Shoot Down Thai Airforce Planes That Invade Cambodian Territory
  • Wood Is Transported from Preah Vihear Day and Night, and Forestry Officials Said They Do Not Dare to Curb Down on It [as it is backed by powerful people]

Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.

And please recommend us also to your colleagues and friends.

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2 Responses to “Street Side Vendors Paying Money – Wednesday, 1.7.2009”

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Hardly any of the small family businesses in Cambodia pay tax through official channels or obtain the proper paperwork required. It is often more expensive to run a business to the letter of the law in Cambodia so many businesses *choose* to go the ‘informal’ route as is outlined in this story. It is important though not to paint the ones paying the bribes as the victims, they are equally as guilty in this illegal activity as the police and could quite easily run a clean business should they choose to do so.

I should know, I’m a partner in a business which has been operating to the letter of the law for over 10 years in Phnom Penh, this is proof that it can be done.

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