A man who was savagely beaten by a mob after killing three people and injuring eight more with his car as he tried to flee a collision remained unconscious and under police guard yesterday, with a doctor saying he may not survive.
Police yesterday named Meas Sokheng as the man who smashed a Toyota Camry into several motorbikes as he sped the wrong way up Phnom Penh’s Monivong Boulevard at about 5:30pm on Monday, in what witnesses said was an attempt to flee from a minor collision with another car.
After his car came to a stop, the 30-year-old, a phone seller from Chak Angre Krom commune in the capital’s Meanchey district, was set upon by a mob, which beat him for several minutes until police intervened.
Yesterday, he lay unconscious and hooked up to a respirator in Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital’s intensive care unit, with two officers from the Phnom Penh traffic police stationed outside.
A doctor from the ICU, who requested anonymity to speak, said Sokheng had suffered severe head and chest trauma and had been comatose since arriving at the hospital. “Given his wounds, he may die,” he said.
Reached yesterday, Tin Vansi, of the municipal traffic police, said the unit was yet to receive complaints from victims’ families. “Until now we do not know the real reason leading to the deaths and injuries because the driver remains unconscious in the ICU,” he said.
Vansi said the traffic police would not investigate the beating of the driver, and Chamkarmon district police chief Yin San referred questions on the matter to the National Police, whose representatives could not be reached.
Police yesterday identified the three deceased as Vong Soknak, 35; Seng An, 25; and Na Sreynin, 23, three cousins from Koh Samrong commune, in Kampong Cham province’s Kampong Siem district.
The trio were riding a single Honda motorbike that was struck by Sokheng’s car. They died at the scene.
The police report tallied eight people as injured.
The six most seriously injured were recovering yesterday in hospitals across Phnom Penh.
At Khmer-Soviet hospital, Chan Thavy, the mother of 17-year-old victim Pal Sambour, said her son had a broken leg after being knocked from his motorbike.
“I was very upset when I saw my son unconscious on the road,” Thavy, 49, said. “I want the authorities to punish the driver under the traffic law.”
At Calmette Hospital, Hem Chantheara, 22, Lot Panha, 20, and Choem Raksmey, 17 – three friends and coworkers at a construction firm who were on the same motorbike – were being treated mostly for leg injuries suffered in the collision.
Of the trio, Chantheara was in the most serious condition, according to his relatives, with doctors yesterday working to repair a ruptured artery in his leg.
Each of the victims’ mothers said that despite their sons’ injuries, they did not agree with the mob attack on the driver.
“I have spent $500 for the operation for my son’s broken femur and ankle,” said Bun Saroeun, Panha’s mother. “But right now, at least he is alive.”