Police are investigating a road accident that occurred Friday when five Chinese nationals overturned a Lexus SUV bearing Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) license plates in Mondolkiri province.
The Chinese nationals—identified by police as Sinh Lyhour, 48; Sou Cheanchheang, 45; Hou Chheng, 28; Fai Lyhour, 52; and “Prey,” 65—were driving the Lexus RX300 with RCAF plates in Mondolkiri’s O’Reang district and took a turn too fast, flipping the vehicle.
Provincial police chief Nhem Vanny said two of the passengers were injured and were immediately admitted to the provincial hospital, then transferred to a hospital in Phnom Penh later that day.
Mr. Vanny said police interviewed the other passengers, who claimed they had rented the car in Phnom Penh for a holiday in the north.
“They rented the car to tour, but we don’t know who leased the car to them yet because it was very difficult to communicate with them in Chinese,” he said.
Mr. Vanny said his ability to find the owner of the RCAF-plated car was limited, and that he would wait for the owner to visit the provincial police station, where the vehicle is currently impounded.
“Now we are still waiting for the owner to come to resolve this,” he said, adding if the car’s owner is identified, he will prepare a report and send it to the relevant military unit.
“We cannot take any measures against the owner of the car because we are police and we don’t have the right to do so against soldiers,” he said.
Under the traffic law, it is illegal for military plates to be used on privately owned vehicles, but this regulation is widely flouted and rarely enforced.
Defense Minister Tea Banh said he was unaware of the case, but would look into it. “I don’t know about this, but this is illegal and we will investigate the case to find out who [rented out] the car,” he said, declining to elaborate.
In April, a Chinese national, also driving a Lexus SUV with RCAF plates, rear-ended a garbage truck, severely injuring a trash collector. Police and Defense Ministry officials at the time declined to reveal the identity of the driver or his reasons for using a car with RCAF plates.
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