Customs Official Pays Off Family After Accident

A customs official driving a vehicle that hit and killed a teenager driving a motorbike in Kompong Speu province on Wednesday paid the family of the victim $1,500 at the scene of the crash and authorities allowed the official to go on his way, police said Thursday.

Yem Oun, 17, was driving a motorbike on National Road 4 in Phnom Sruoch district’s Treng Trayoeng commune at about 6 a.m. when Sun Chhay, 50, ran into him with his Range Rover, killing him instantly, deputy provincial police chief Men Muth said Thursday.

“After the SUV hit [Yem Oun], he died instantly at the scene,” he said. “We did not arrest [Mr. Chhay] because the family [of Yem Oun] agreed to accept compensation and there was a provincial court approval letter.”

“The driver of Range Rover was a customs official who works in Preah Sihanouk province,” Mr. Muth said, declining to give Mr. Chhay’s position, or explain how the provincial court was able to immediately draft and deliver a letter to police in the early hours of the morning.

Mr. Muth referred further questions to deputy provincial traffic police chief Sem Sarith.

“The two parties compromised,” Mr. Sarith said. “The family of the victim asked for compensation at the scene…and they got $1,500 from the owner of the Range Rover and the family agreed to drop the complaint.”

“We sent our report to the court to consider the case,” Mr. Sarith added. “It is the duty of the court to consider whether the owner of the motorbike caused the accident or the owner of the SUV.”

Provincial court prosecutor Keo Sothea could not be reached for comment.

At least 11 people died and 11 were injured in 14 traffic accidents across the country during the first day of the water festival Wednesday, according to statistics posted to the National Police website Thursday.

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