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PM contrite after helmetless moto jaunt

Prime Minsiter Hun Sen rides on the back of a local’s motorcycle without a helmet on the weekend during a provincial trip to Koh Kong. Facebook
Prime Minsiter Hun Sen rides on the back of a local’s motorcycle without a helmet on the weekend during a provincial trip to Koh Kong. Facebook

PM contrite after helmetless moto jaunt

Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday apologised after Facebook users pointed out that he had broken the law by riding a moto without a helmet in a video he posted to social media over the weekend.

“We leaders always encourage the people to wear a helmet, but we ourselves do not, so please do not follow my bad example,” a follow-up Facebook post said yesterday.

The video was shot in Koh Kong province and shows the premier taking a motodop for a ride across a bridge, with neither wearing a helmet.

Institute for Road Safety director Ear Chariya said he was disappointed in the example set by the prime minister but praised him for taking responsibility for his actions.

“More than an apology, we want to see him wearing a helmet when he rides a motorcycle in future. That way his behaviour will serve as a role model, rather than just his apology,” Chariya said.

Also controversial was the news that Hun Sen gave the motodop $1,000 after their helmetless jaunt. Government spokesman Phay Siphan insisted the gift was a harmless act of charity.

“It’s the culture in Cambodia,” he said.

However, the executive director of transparency NGO ANSA, San Chey, yesterday questioned where Hun Sen was able to find the money in the first place, given his modest salary.

In 2011, the premier revealed his monthly salary was just $1,125, although documents obtained by the Post in 2014 said it had increased to about $2,000.

Siphan declined to comment on the premier’s finances.

Additional reporting by Jack Davies