A ROYAL Cambodian Armed Forces soldier in Kampong Cham province has been arrested and detained after he mowed down two 13-year-old girls with his Toyota Camry, killing both, officials said yesterday.
Prak Bunnun, the police chief of Kampong Cham’s Ponhea Krek district, where the incident occurred, said the officer, Hean Sovann, had been speeding when he struck the girls at around 5pm on Monday evening.
“One girl died immediately at that place after the strong hit, and the other one was rescued by policemen and sent immediately to Vietnam for treatment, but unfortunately she also died at a hospital in Vietnam,” he said.
I think that this is a serious case and we cannot pardon him. I will charge him if he is sent to me.
The bodies of both girls have been sent to their families for funeral ceremonies, he said.
The incident occurred along National Road 74 in Trapaing Thlong I village, which is located in Ponhea Krek’s Trapaing Thlong commune.
The detained officer, 53, is part of Battalion 203, which is based in Ponhea Krek’s Krek commune. Prak Bunnun said he was arrested immediately after hitting the two girls.
Muong Sarin, deputy prosecutor at Kampong Cham provincial court, said Hean Sovann had not been transferred to the court as of early yesterday evening. “I don’t see that this man has been sent to the court yet,” he said.
He added, though, that he believed the court would likely pursue the case. “I think that this is a serious case and we cannot pardon him,” he said. “I will charge him if he is sent to me.”
Neang Sovath, provincial coordinator for the rights group Adhoc, applauded the arrest and said he hoped the case would go to trial.
“I appreciate and welcome this arrest,” he said. “I think that this arrest will be a good example for other police and military officers, as well as other powerful people, so that they will obey traffic laws and respect human rights.”
Road safety experts say speeding is the leading cause of road deaths in the Kingdom.
The Road Crash and Victim Information System, which collects data from traffic police and health facilities, recorded 12,538 crashes last year, resulting in 21,519 casualties.