A fifth-year medical student was killed in a bag-snatching gone wrong yesterday as she was driving through Phnom Penh’s Tuol Tompung II commune on her way to give her cousin a ride to his grade 12 exams.
According to commune police chief Oeng Dara, victim Mork Punkanika, 23, was driving down Street 271 at about 5:30am with her helmet hanging from her rear-view mirror when the two suspects started to follow her, witnesses said.
Suddenly, the men moved to overtake her bike on the left, grabbing her bag, which was slung from her right shoulder.
The grab caused the moto to topple over, and Punkanika died immediately when her head hit the pavement.
The two suspects managed to escape with the bag, Dara added.
Punkanika’s aunt, Touch Sopheap, 48, said the victim had been looking after patients at Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital, and had called about 5am to say she would take her cousin to his exam.
“When they called to tell me that my niece had died, I didn’t believe it, because I just talked on phone with her about half an hour ago,” Sopheap said, sobbing.
“But when I arrived at the site, I saw my niece dead on the road; I was shocked.”
Sopheap said yesterday afternoon that she had contacted the victim’s family in Siem Reap to break the news.
However, she said still hadn’t told her son of Punkanika’s death out of worry that the shock of the news would cost him a passing grade on the high-stakes exam.
According to Sopheap, Punkanika was a “good daughter” and an excellent student, and was applying for a scholarship to continue her studies in France.