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Siem Reap official freed after fatal drunken hit-and-run

Officials seen inspecting Deputy Prosecutor Samrith Sokhon’s car last week on National Road 6 in Siem Reap province.
Officials seen inspecting Deputy Prosecutor Samrith Sokhon’s car last week on National Road 6 in Siem Reap province. Photo supplied

Siem Reap official freed after fatal drunken hit-and-run

A Siem Reap deputy provincial prosecutor was released without charges last week after killing another motorist while allegedly driving under the influence and then trying to flee the scene.

One man was killed and another injured when Deputy Prosecutor Samrith Sokhon drove his Lexus into a motorbike shortly after midnight on Thursday. Chim Sovann, traffic police chief of Siem Reap town, said Sokhon dragged the motorbike and driver almost 1,000 metres while trying to flee. According to local media, Sokhon was stopped by bystanders. Sovann also confirmed local media reports that Sokhon had been drinking.

Despite all this, Sokhon was released, for reasons that Sovann admitted were influenced by his position. “After he crashed into the motorbike we arrested him and released him, because there was an understanding. Because we know him clearly; he works in the prosecutor’s institution, and he already paid compensation for the victims.”

Siem Reap town Police Chief Tith Naroth would only say the case was closed and “has already been solved”.

San Chey, of the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability-Cambodia, said the situation, regrettably, was “not a new kind of impunity”.

Ear Chariya, of the Institute for Road Safety, noted that “law enforcement on drunk driving is very limited”, and the latest case was “undermining the efforts for improving and building the culture of road safety”.

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