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Korean man held in traffic deaths

A Korean man who allegedly killed four members of a Cambodian family while driving under the influence of alcohol is facing manslaughter charges in Phnom Penh Municipal Court, court officials said Tuesday.

 “The man has been charged with killing people in a traffic accident,” said prosecutor Ouk Savuth, adding that Kim Hae Chul, 46, was being held in pretrial detention at Prey Sar Prison.

Phnom Penh deputy police chief Pen Khun said that the four victims were killed when the driver crashed into their motorbike in Dangkao district’s Chom Chao commune on Saturday, July 5.

Grandparents Yiet Tann, 44, and Chrun Kimsry, 43, and their three year-old granddaughter Hun Phalnyta died instantly when Kim allegedly drove his Hyundai SUV onto the wrong side of the road, striking the motorbike head on. 

Yet Srey Sros, 24, died shortly after at a private clinic in Dangkao district, while her one-year-old daughter Hun Phalnytan is in serious but stable condition.

Police sent documents to the Municipal Court on Monday, July 7, charging Kim with manslaughter.

“He had no intention to hit the motorbike,” Pen Khun said. “It was an accident.”

The motorbike was clearly overloaded, he added.

Sann Socheata, road safety program manager for Handicap International, an NGO working on traffic information systems, said that overloading was a common safety issue.

“Over 70% of traffic accident victims are motorbike drives and passengers,” San Socheata said, adding that overloading was a factor to causing accidents and fatalities.

“If we want to reduce the mortality rate, both law enforcement officers and road users must respect the law,” she said.

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