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Colonel sentenced for hit-and-run

A senior military official was sentenced yesterday by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court to two and half years in prison – suspended to one month – for a drunken hit-and-run that left two people dead earlier this month.

Charged with unintentionally causing death while driving, Colonel Pen Dara, chief of administration and finance at the Military Training School  in the Defence Ministry, confessed to the crime, and paid $10,000 in compensation to each of the victim’s families.

Speaking at yesterday’s hearing, Dara said he had been driving home drunk from from his son’s wedding at Koh Pich, and was carrying tens of thousands of dollars from guests.

After hitting a motorbike on Norodom Boulevard – killing the driver and passenger – Dara said he panicked and drove away because he was afraid if police came, they would steal the money. Officers gave chase and apprehended him in Sen Sok district.

“I had no intention to hit them dead, and I am very regretful for what happened. I would like to ask the court to pardon me and reduce my sentences so that I would able to resume my work,” Dara told the court.

Upon delivering the sentence, judge Kim Rothnarin said it would be suspended due to Dara’s evident remorse and large compensations. Both families had already withdrawn their complaints.

To contact the reporter on this story: Buth Reaksmey Kongkea at



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