Three people were killed and four others were seriously injured in a three-car pileup in Tbong Khmum province following a high-speed pursuit of timber transporters by an unidentified party.
Chhim Kim Hong, deputy provincial police chief in Tbong Khmum, said the van transporting timber collided with another vehicle while trying to escape. One of the timber transporters was killed, while two of the men in the other van also died. Police did not say whether the timber being transported was illegally harvested, but confirmed it was not luxury timber.
Tbong Khmum has been plagued by so-called illegal checkpoints, where individuals demand bribes from loggers. In January, Prime Minister Hun Sen ordered the provincial governor to address the issue.
“According to our investigation, the van carrying wood had caused the accident because it was at a high speed. It hit the van carrying eggs and then a truck carrying cow dung hit the van carrying eggs,” Kim Hong said.
Kim Hong reported that witnesses observed another car chasing the van and firing a single gunshot. “A man in the wood-carrying van, who was injured, told us that there was a car chasing his car, but he did not know who they were,” he explained.
Kim Hong said he believed the driver may know who was chasing the car, but he is currently receiving medical treatment in Vietnam. “We will go talk to him later,” he said.
Kak Commune Police Chief Huy Sambath said the vehicles and timber were impounded.