Despite Identification of Driver In Hit-and-Run, Still No Arrests

A month and a half after Irishman Tomas Beecher was hit and killed by an SUV in Phnom Penh, the investigating judge in the case said this week he does not have enough evidence to issue an arrest warrant for the suspected driver, the 20-year-old daughter of a Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) major.

Tomas Beecher, 30, was walking his bicycle across Monivong Boulevard in Chamkar Mon district’s Boeng Keng Kang I commune in the early hours of September 28 when he was struck by the late-model Range Rover. He died instantly.

Police identified the driver as Sila Ratanak, the daughter of Major Hou Sila, head of the finance office for RCAF’s sub-military region in Preah Vihear province.

“Sila Ratanak drove a white Range Rover SUV…[and] hit Beecher Tomas Edmond, 30, killing him while he was walking with his bicycle, and she fled,” the Phnom Penh Municipal Court’s case summary reads.

But despite receiving the summary from deputy court prosecutor Meas Chanpiseth on November 3, Judge Leang Samnath has yet to issue an arrest warrant.

“The court has to find out who the exact suspect who drove [the SUV] is,” Judge Samnath said at his office at the court earlier this week.

He said that Ms. Ratanak—who failed to heed a summons to appear in court on October 16—and the owner of the Range Rover, Hang Linda, also 20, are both suspects, and that he does not want to issue a warrant for the wrong woman.

Sem Kunthea, the deputy municipal traffic police chief who compiled the initial police report, which also named Ms. Ratanak as the driver, said on Sunday that Ms. Linda and Ms. Ratanak are now pointing the finger at one another.

“From what I understand, Hang Linda and Sila Ratanak have filed complaints against each other with the court,” he said, declining to elaborate.

Judge Samnath said he was unaware of the dueling complaints and declined to discuss the case further.

“This is the secret of the court,” he said.

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