The Price of Parking and the Rule of Law

Although these two companions have been teased by their friends and acquaintances—people who often ask the pair why they spend so much time chatting away in a cafe, Samnang and Sothie still meet daily for their coffee and conversation. Today, the two pals were complaining about the security services at the markets, in particular they tried to get to the bottom of why security guards charge a higher parking fee than what they actually write on the parking tickets or the parking price charts.

Sothie: Hey, Samnang! I am not saying that I am stingy about the price of the parking fee! However, it’s just pretty annoying to feel like you’re being ripped off. I paid 2,000 riel for parking the other day, when the chart said quite clearly that it should be 300 riel for a motorbike or 500 riel for a car—the price itself is not the issue, but surely they should make sure the fees are correct and advertised properly?

Samnang: What could you possibly buy with 300 riels or 500 riels these days? It’s an inconsequential amount, but still—I know what you mean, charging higher fees that what the official papers say is equal to breaking the law.

Sothie: Don’t be so ignorant, you’ve spent enough of your parents’ money that you should know the value of it by now! Don’t say that you cannot possibly do anything with just 300 riels or 500 riels—even the small amounts of cash eventually add up. Think of all the people who park their vehicles around the markets, how much would all those additional fees add up to? The sum of all the parking fees is tremendous! The difference between what the government has decreed is the price to park and the prices that security guards actually charge must be huge, but I wonder where does all that extra money actually go? That’s what I want to know. We shouldn’t say that it’s irrelevant because it’s such a small price for each of us individually, when collectively, it adds up to something big. We as citizens need to be smarter and we are getting wiser to these kind of scams.

Samnang: Well, they do offer you their telephone numbers in case you want to call and make a complaint.

Sothie: Telephone numbers alone are not the solutions. Citizens do not bother dealing with it, since they are aware of expecting that the outcome will not be effective. Honest commitments toward the citizens are what matter most. If they set the fees on the ticket papers or the price charts according to what they actually charge such as 1,000 riels or even 2,000 riels, then the citizens may not be so dissatisfied. The implementation should go along with what is shown on the official charts. This is what’s important. Rule of law should be effectively implemented from the top to the bottom of society.


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