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Official dies in lift shaft fall

People inspect the ground floor of an elevator shaft
People inspect the ground floor of an elevator shaft yesterday at a construction site in Phnom Penh after a military police commander fell to his death. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Official dies in lift shaft fall

A military police commander from Poipet town died in Phnom Penh early yesterday after he fell about 10 metres down a hotel lift shaft after a night of drinking and karaoke, police said.

Horm Muth, military police commander in Banteay Meanchey province’s Poipet town, died in the early hours of yesterday morning after falling down an under-construction elevator shaft at the Midland Hotel in Tuol Kok district’s Boeung Kak I commune.

A hotel staffer described watching CCTV footage of Muth stagger around his fourth-floor corridor in the early hours before straying into an unfinished area of the hotel.

Or Borin, Banteay Meanchey provincial military police chief, said Muth was on leave to see his ill mother in Prey Veng province before spending the night at the hotel on his way home.

“He and his wife stayed there. I regret his loss. He was a good officer. It was an accident and is not considered a murder case,” he said.

The hotel staff member, who requested anonymity, said Muth had left the hotel to visit a karaoke bar with his family before returning at about 3am.

“He went out to sing karaoke with his family and got drunk and then came back to the hotel at 3am. Then we saw [him on CCTV]; he came out of his room in a drunken manner and then went into the back of the hotel, where steam rooms and a swimming pool are being constructed,” he said.

After being declared dead on arrival at Phnom Penh’s Calmette Hospital, Muth’s body was immediately transferred to his family for burial.

Chreang Sophan, a deputy governor of Phnom Penh, whose family owns the hotel, yesterday held a blessing ceremony with his wife at the site of the incident.

Midland Hotel representatives declined to comment on the incident and security guards prevented any reporters from viewing the scene.

It was not clear whether the hotel would pay compensation to Muth’s family.

“It is a matter for my boss to deal with, but so far, the family has not complained,” the hotel staffer said.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY DANIEL PYE

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