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Traffic officer flees scene of deadly crash

Ratanakkiri provincial traffic police are searching for a traffic police official who fled after crashing his car into two houses in Banlung district’s Laban Siek commune last Saturday, killing two people and injuring three others.

Police said today that the suspect, identified as Kem Pithin, crashed his car into a house-warming party and then into a neighbouring house in Banlung town.

Oung Sopheap, 40, and Keo Phan, 51, died at the scene and three people from Stung Treng province  – Keo Phann, 9, Chhoun Pheakdey, 28, and Bun Saroeun, 42 – were injured.

Provincial traffic deputy police chief Chhin Phen said today that he suspected Kem Pithin had fled the province.

“We are searching to arrest him and we already sent the documents regarding this case to the court,” he said, adding that the victims’ families had not yet filed complaints to police because they were holding the victims’ funerals.

Chhin Phen said that Kem Pithin crashed after he swerved to avoid an oncoming motorbike.

“The driver was not drunk, he was learning to drive the car, but he avoided a motorbike which nearly hit his car. That made him lose confidence and he moved the steering wheel of the car and crashed into the party house and continued to crash into another house.”

Police said they are investigating a claim made by a witness from the party that there was a monk seated in the car at the time of the crash.

Chhay Thy, provincial monitor for local rights group Adhoc, said today that traffic accidents appeared to have increased as more people moved to Ratanakkiri province.

“The travellers don’t respect each other while driving and some of them don’t know about traffic laws; that’s why there are traffic accidents,” he said.

“The police have to arrest [Kem Pithin] to punish him through the law even if he is a cop, because he did wrong.”

Chhin Phen said there had been five traffic accidents in Ratanakkiri province this year, causing a total of two deaths and 12 injuries.

 

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