A CNRP official was questioned at the Pursat Provincial Court on Sunday despite agreeing to compensate the family of a 6-year-old boy he injured in a hit-and-run accident while leaving an opposition election event on Saturday, the official and police said.
Chan Senghurt, chief of the CNRP provincial executive committee, was arrested at 5 p.m. on Saturday in Phnom Kravanh district, about 40 km from where he hit the child, Nat Sovandy. He struck the child at 3:30 p.m. while driving his Mitsubishi Pajero in Veal Veng district’s Pramoy commune, district police chief Theang Leng said.
Speaking from the district police station where he was detained on Sunday, Mr. Senghurt said CNRP provincial officials had given Sovandy’s family about $575 in compensation and agreed to pay additional medical bills.
“The victim’s family agreed to accept the compensation, but police refused to release me,” he said.
Mr. Senghurt said he had fled after hitting the boy—who sustained a cracked skull and cut knees and was being treated at Kantha Bopha Hospital in Siem Reap City, according to his mother—out of fear of being beaten to death by people gathered at the scene.
The boy’s mother, Sok Sreyna, 29, said on Sunday she had told police she would not file a complaint against Mr. Senghurt because he had agreed to pay compensation.
“But police refused and they wanted me to file a complaint against him,” she said.
Mr. Leng, the police chief, said that despite the family’s refusal to file a complaint, the police would still submit one to the court.
“We just want the victim’s family to thumbprint the complaint because the court will find justice for the victim,” he said.
Ngim Nheng, chief of the CNRP’s working group in Pursat, on Sunday claimed the police had politicized a traffic accident.
“I think the authorities are now making the case a political issue because they [tried to] force the victim’s family to file a complaint against our official,” he said.
But Mr. Leng disputed this, saying that “the arrest was not a political issue.”
“We arrested him because he hit the boy and tried to avoid responsibility for the accident,” he said.