Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Hit-and-run Range Rover driver ‘Mana’ out of prison

Hit-and-run Range Rover driver ‘Mana’ out of prison

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Yen Khun Mey, also known as Yin Mana (second left) was brought to the Police station in March. FACEBOOK

Hit-and-run Range Rover driver ‘Mana’ out of prison

A hit-and-run driver sentenced to a year in prison by Phnom Penh Municipal Court for killing a promising young scholarship student walked free from prison on Monday afternoon despite having served only two months of her punishment.

Yin Khun Mey, also known as Yin Mana, was handed down the jail term after the Range Rover she was driving crashed into university student Dum Rida’s motorbike in Phnom Penh’s Tuol Kork district on March 26, killing her on the spot.

Wednesday would have seen Khun Mey serve two months of her one-year custodial sentence as she had been held in pre-trial detention since March 29.

A rights group spokesman said her early release highlighted the disparity between the treatment of the rich and the poor in Cambodia’s legal system.

General Department of Prisons spokesperson Nuth Savna declined to comment further on Khun Mey’s release, saying only: “Khun Mey was released from prison on the afternoon of Monday.”

Sok Uorng, the lawyer for the family of the victim, told The Post on Tuesday that he would follow his clients’ wishes.

“Yin Mana was charged and sent to prison by the court on March 29. My clients filed their complaint for compensation the same day."

“After negotiations, my clients accepted the compensation offered by the family and withdrew their complaint at the court on April 3. The prosecutor’s complaint was under the court’s jurisdiction to decide upon,” Uorng said.

On May 17, the court sentenced Khun Mey to one year in prison, with three years suspended, and banned her from driving. She served two months in jail before being released, he added.

Uorng said he could not explain three years of the sentence being suspended. He said the reason should be asked of the court as the sentence was decided by one of its judges.

Phnom Penh Municipal Court spokesperson Ly Sophana could not be reached to comment on this issue.

The driving ban did not have a specific timeframe but was to be decided by the court as well.

Soeung Sen Karuna, the spokesman for rights group Adhoc, told The Post on Tuesday that all people should be treated equally under the law.

“This case was under the jurisdiction of the court, but the problem is the practice in Cambodia of the rich and powerful having the influence to solve their problems. If the offenders are poor, they can receive stricter punishments,” he claimed.

In order to have equal treatment, Sen Karuna said he would like to see the authorities enforce the law regardless of whether a person is rich or poor. Special treatment should not be given to powerful and wealthy individuals who broke the law and often reoffended.

When asked whether he had documents to show that the enforcement of Cambodian law was unequal in its treatment or not transparent, Sen Karuna said Adhoc lawyers could prove inequality existed.

However, he said he could not show the documents to The Post on Tuesday evening as it was late in the night and he was working in the provinces.

Phnom Penh Municipal Court spokesperson Sophana said he was in a meeting when contacted for comment on Yin Mana’s early release. He requested that questions be sent via text message. However, he failed to respond by press time on Tuesday.

The Range Rover Khun Mey was driving crashed into Rida’s motorbike on March 26, killing the 22-year-old Khmer literature scholar.

The accident drew outrage from the public after footage of the accident went viral on social media, prompting the Office of the Council of Ministers to denounce the hit-and-run and Prime Minister Hun Sen to appeal for more attention to be paid to the rapidly increasing number of traffic accidents.

Accompanied by her father Yen Ngech, Khun Mey turned herself in on March 29. On the same day, Investigating Judge Bun Thy placed her in pre-trial detention at the capital’s Police Judiciaire (PJ) prison, known to house prisoners with connections and wealth who have fallen foul of the law.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hong Kong firm done buying Coke Cambodia

    Swire Coca-Cola Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hong Kong-listed Swire Pacific Ltd, on November 25 announced that it had completed the acquisition of The Coca-Cola Co’s bottling business in Cambodia, as part of its ambitions to expand into the Southeast Asian market. Swire Coca-Cola affirmed

  • Cambodia's Bokator now officially in World Heritage List

    UNESCO has officially inscribed Cambodia’s “Kun Lbokator”, commonly known as Bokator, on the World Heritage List, according to Minister of Culture and Fine Arts Phoeurng Sackona in her brief report to Prime Minister Hun Sen on the night of November 29. Her report, which was

  • NagaWorld union leader arrested at airport after Australia trip

    Chhim Sithar, head of the Labour Rights Supported Union of Khmer Employees at NagaWorld integrated casino resort, was arrested on November 26 at Phnom Penh International Airport and placed in pre-trial detention after returning from a 12-day trip to Australia. Phnom Penh Municipal Court Investigating Judge

  • Sub-Decree approves $30M for mine clearance

    The Cambodian government established the ‘Mine-Free Cambodia 2025 Foundation’, and released an initial budget of $30 million. Based on the progress of the foundation in 2023, 2024 and 2025, more funds will be added from the national budget and other sources. In a sub-decree signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen

  • Two senior GDP officials defect to CPP

    Two senior officials of the Grassroots Democratic Party (GDP) have asked to join the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), after apparently failing to forge a political alliance in the run-up to the 2023 general election. Yang Saing Koma, chairman of the GDP board, and Lek Sothear,

  • Cambodia's poverty cut in half from 2009 to 2019: World Bank report

    A report published by the World Bank on November 28 states that Cambodia’s national poverty rate fell by almost half between 2009 and 2019, but the Covid-19 pandemic recently reversed some of the poverty reduction progress. Cambodia’s poverty rate dropped from 33.8 to 17.8 per cent over the 10