Dozens Die Throughout Country in Preholiday Traffic Accidents

At least 24 people have died and 44 have been seriously injured in traffic accidents across the country late last week and over the weekend, according to police, as Cambodians flocked to the provinces for the Pchum Ben holiday, which began Monday and runs until Wednesday.

Statistics posted to the National Police website show that a total of 51 accidents were reported on Thursday, Friday and Sunday, resulting in 24 deaths, 44 serious injuries and 33 minor injuries. Figures for Saturday and Monday have not been released.

Police in Pursat province said two men were killed when a Capital Tours bus plowed into their motorbike in Bakan district on Saturday night.

Yoeun Mao, 22, and Sin Soeun, 21, both from Battambang province’s Rokha Kiri district, died instantly when they were hit by the bus at about 8 p.m. on National Road 5 in Snam Preah commune, deputy provincial police chief Or Heang said Monday.

The bus driver, which was not carrying any passengers at the time of the crash, fled the scene and remains at large, Mr. Heang said.

“According to witnesses…the motorbike tried to pass a car and then crashed [head on] into a bus owned by Capitol,” he said. “The two men died at the scene.”

Huor Sokvan, assistant manager at Capitol Tours, said the company “was not responsible” for the accident, and that its insurer would deal with any fallout.

“Our driver escaped from the scene because if he stayed, he might have been attacked by the local villagers, but we will not take his side if traffic police officers find that he…made a mistake,” he said.

In a separate case, a mother and her baby daughter were killed when a van crashed into their motorbike in Tbong Khmum province on Friday afternoon, according to the National Police website.

Yan Pum, 48, and her 3-month-old daughter Kuy Reasmey died at the scene, while her husband, Kuy Chanthol, 50, was seriously injured in the accident on National Road 8 in Ponhea Krek district’s Kak commune, according to the website.

“After the accident, the police came to intervene and took the victim for treatment at the hospital…. However, the driver is at large [and] the motorbike and van were taken to Ponhea Krek district police station,” it says.

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