Banned…except when they are not

An article in yesterday’s Khmer Times newspaper makes it pretty clear that right-hand drive vehicles are banned in Cambodia. In other countries “banned” would mean you can’t use them. But this is Cambodia:

  • About 10 or 12 years ago a law was passed outlawing right-hand vehicles.
  • About a year later in one of his famous rambling speeches, the prime minister declared that actually right-hand vehicles could keep operating.
  • It is not uncommon to see right-hand cars on the streets here.
  • The government even issues a special license plate for right-hand vehicles–which are illegal according to the law that is ignored.

Now in the same article with the above headline, the PM says:

  • Right-hand vehicles will no longer be allowed to be imported into the country. Meaning that all along, even though they were banned they were still able to be brought into the kingdom.
  • The right-hand drives can continue to be used but now the drivers have to pay taxes on them. Meaning that previously, if you drove an illegal right-hand vehicle, you didn’t need to pay taxes while the legal drivers did.
  • More than half of the R-H cars here have been converted to left-hand drive but that will no longer be required.
  • “He also urged the people not to import right-hand drive cars anymore.” So much for a ban.