THE Funcinpec party has urged the government, especially the Ministry of Interior, to investigate the traffic accident in Preah Sihanouk province which left Prince Norodom Ranariddh badly injured and his wife Ouk Phalla dead.
Funcinpec Vice President You Hokry told reporters at Botum Votey pagoda, where Phalla’s body is being kept, that the party urged the government to launch a full investigation into the circumstances of the accident so the details can be known.
“He was severely wounded and sent to Bangkok on Sunday night. We just wonder how the prince’s convoy, accompanied by a car in the front with a siren, still crashed in this way.
“It is not the first time Ranariddh has had an accident like this . . . We just can’t understand how this has happened for a second time in a similar manner. So we hope that the government, particularly the Ministry of Interior, launches an investigation into this case,” he said.
Funcinpec Secretary-General Yim Savy said the prince was sent to Thailand via helicopter from the Royal Phnom Penh Hospital, after immediately being taken to Preah Sihanouk Provincial Hospital after the accident.
“He is fine and getting better. He is staying in Thailand for the time being,” he said.
Savy said Phalla’s cremation will take place on Wednesday at Botum Vatey Park with consent from the family and the Royal Palace.
“We agreed to arrange the cremation for June 20. The death is a tremendous loss for the people because they love and respect her. Party members also respected and loved her because of her service to the country,” he said, adding that the public and Funcinpec members will attend to pay their respects.
Hy Hong, 71, who will be attending the cremation, said through tears that she was deeply saddened by the loss of Phalla.
“It should not happen to her. I have never met her in person, but I just cried when I heard the news. It is a great loss to the country,” she said.
Tith Savat, 66, a Funcinpec member, said Phalla is an outstanding individual as she had always tried to encourage Ranariddh to help people.
“We are so sorry that we have lost her. The loss motivates us to struggle for the people and party,” he said.
Phalla, 39, died at Preah Sihanouk Provincial Hospital at 12pm on June 17. She is survived by Ranariddh and two sons. She died three hours after the accident in Prey Nub district.
Ranariddh, who heads Funcinpec, and six other people were severely injured. They were sent to Preah Sihanouk Provincial Hospital and a hospital in Phnom Penh.
The driver of the Toyota Highlander that crashed into the motorcade carrying Phalla and Ranariddh has been put into pretrial detention at Preah Sihanouk Provincial Prison. He has been charged with “driving dangerously and causing injuries and death to others”. Initially identified as Vul Sareth, 34, by police officials, court documents gave his name as Mil Sareth.