After Two Men Die in Hit and Run, a Passive Police Response

Phnom Penh’s police force has had almost a week to investigate a fatal hit-and-run on Friday night, when a Range Rover slammed into a motorbike near the Ministry of Commerce, killing two men and seriously injuring another.

But local police have not conducted even the most basic inquiry into what happened that night, when two men lost their lives and the luxury SUV sped away from the stretch of Russian Boulevard lined with banks, gas stations and car dealerships.

Thang Ratha, 23, died at the scene of the accident, while Khnat Sat, 21, died at Calmette Hospital shortly after.

Long Sroy, 18, was seriously injured.

“My nephew got seriously injured and broke his leg,” said Uch Chamnan, the uncle of Long Sroy. “Police have still not come to Khmer-Soviet Hospital to ask him any questions.”

Peang Moeung was on duty as a security guard on Friday night at the Total gas station nearby and saw the fatal collision occur just meters away.

“I saw that the Range Rover was black,” Mr. Moeung said. “But police haven’t asked me about what happened.”

Morn Meth, the manager at the Total station, said police have not contacted him to review security camera footage from the time of the accident.

“No police have come by,” he said. “None of our staff has been questioned.”

At a neighboring Nissan dealership, sales representative Kim Chanchhaya also said that authorities have not asked for their security camera footage.

“Accidents happen there all the time,” he said, explaining that motorists making illegal U-turns at the nearby intersection were usually to blame. “We’ve never been asked questions by police.”

Sen Sok district traffic police chief Sun Sovann said officers spoke to witnesses at the scene of the crash, but have been too busy to follow up on the investigation.

“We didn’t have much time to work on that because we have [to] organize our officials to protect Freedom Park,” he said.

Mr. Sovann said his investigation is ongoing, but that he was waiting for witnesses to come to the police with evidence.

“We did not take any video camera footage because in the past it has not been useful,” he added. “If anyone tells us clearly about the car I will track it down.”

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