A traffic police officer who was caught driving drunk was fined and punished by the Phnom Penh Municipal Traffic Bureau as he admitted to the offence and agreed to take full responsibility for his actions, including paying compensation for any damages caused to property.

Municipal traffic police chief Sem Ratana told The Post that officers had investigated the incident in which Muong Seiha – chief of the Phnom Penh Municipal Land Traffic Police – was driving under the influence of alcohol when he crashed into a fence at the University of Health Sciences located in Boeung Keng Kang district’s Tumnop Teuk commune near the intersection of Street 183 and Street 271, causing severe damage to his vehicle.

Citing Seiha’s confession, Ratana said that on the night of the incident, the officer was driving under the influence when he lost control and tried to drive onto the sidewalk to avoid hitting any other vehicles. The officer’s car came to a temporary halt, but he crashed it into the sandbags next to the university’s fence in the process.

“Even if he did not injure anyone or cause any casualties, as a traffic police officer he especially shouldn’t violate the traffic laws. He must be fined in accordance with the Road Traffic Law and he will be subject to disciplinary action by the National Police as well as held liable for civil damages to the property owners in the area,” Ratana said.

Ratana said the officer will also be suspended for one month according to the National Police’s code of conduct.

Reached for comment on April 28, Seiha told The Post that he regretted the incident.

“I understood my situation at that time and that I couldn’t just keep on driving, so I decided to take a break. But when I tried to park on the sidewalk, I hit the sandbags that were piled up next to the hospital’s fence,” he said, adding that he would take full responsibility for his actions.

His vehicle has been temporarily impounded by the Phnom Penh Municipal Traffic Police until the case is legally resolved.

According to Article 72 of the Road Traffic Law, driving under the influence of alcohol with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.4 to 0.8 is an offence punishable by an imprisonment of between one and six months and a fine of up to four million riel ($1000). Those caught driving with a BAC higher than 0.8 are subject to even further penalties.