Law and Order in the capital
Phnom Penh Travel Blog› entry 175 of 254 › view all entries
After a leisurly breakfast we found a tuk-tuk man and agreed a price for a day at the markets. About 5 minutes into our journey as we were travelling down the road along the riverside a motorbike came alongside the tuk-tuk and whisked Nicola's bag away. The speed at which it happened was incredible, we were all left a little shellshocked and helpless with nothing to do but watch the motorbike speed away into thin air. As no-one really prepares for this to happen we didn't really know what the correct thing to do would be, so we went back to the hotel where they spoke relatively good English to seek their advice.
We then spent the morning travelling between the various police stations in the city. First stop was the tourist police. Our tuk-tuk man stayed with us and we think he was very helpful in explaining what had happened. Nicola was asked to fill in a form (the first of many) listing what exactly had been in the bag. We were then told we had to go to the normal police station so that they could investigate it. So tuk-tuk man took us there. This was a small building with one man in a uniform, the rest were very casual in their vests reading newspapers. No one here spoke much English. Nicola was given her next form to fill in details of the incident. After this the translator appeared - a young kid they had found nearby who could speak some English. We tried to find out what would happen but didn't get very far. Think we were all starting to realise that there wouldn't be much of an investigation. We were then told we had to go back to the tourist police - we didn't understand why but went along anyway. Nicola was given some more forms to fill in. One of the policemen (we think) came over, gave a wry smile, and told Nicola he would like to help. We wondered when he would state his price! After a while longer of sitting and wondering, Nicola was give two copies of her report and a young policeman explained that she could now offer a donation to help towards the photocopying costs. We asked "How much?" He replied, ''Its up to you.'' Not knowing the going rate for police bribes we offered the meagre amount of $5 - probably not enough for them to investigate the matter further, but Nicola had got her report which she would need for her insurance claim. We had read in the Lonely Planet that the going rate for police reports was $20, so we didn't do too bad. The police really were a pitiful lot. We wondered what purpose they actually serve - not for us tourists but for the Cambodian people.
After all this trauma and excitment we went for a drink. Later in the afternoon we made it to the Russian Market and all bought a few things, each perfecting our bargaining skills. It was a very good market that sold everything from little Buddha figures to car englines!
For our evening meal we went to one of the many restaurants in Phnom Penh which helps disadvantaged people. 'Friends' offers placements to street children and trains them in many areas of work. The restaurant was very good and we all enjoyed some excellent tapas.