Drunk Military Police Chief Flees Successive Hit-and-Runs

A district military police chief in Kratie province left three people seriously injured on Monday afternoon after he drunkenly crashed into a female motorcyclist, and then crashed into a father and his son as he fled the scene of his first collision, police said.

Hav Savuth, the 44-year-old chief of Prek Prasap district military police, left a restaurant where he had been drinking in O’Russei commune at about 2 p.m., and a few minutes later struck 33-year-old Kan Boroth, propelling her 10 meters through the air onto the road, said Thorn Toat, deputy provincial traffic police chief.

“After he hit the woman, he didn’t stop, he just continued driving and as he escaped he tried to overtake another car in Rokar Kandal commune and smashed into another motorbike,” Mr. Toat said.

In the second collision, 50-year-old Sin Chanthy and his son were seriously injured, he said, adding that the military police chief fled the second crash site but was finally apprehended as he attempted to cross the Mekong River by ferry.

Police, however, did not detain the military police chief because he made a call to his deputy commander, who said that the military police would deal with the matter, including paying compensation to the victims, if he was freed.

“We stopped Mr. Savuth before he got onto the boat, but we only kept his car because his deputy commander pleaded with us not to arrest him and said they would take responsibility for the case,” Mr. Toat said.

According to Mr. Toat, all three victims of the double hit and run are in hospital with serious injuries.

“Ms. Boruth was wearing a helmet but it wasn’t fastened, so the helmet came off and she landed on her head and face,” Mr. Toat said, adding that the victim, who was knocked unconscious, was sent to Vietnam for treatment.

The father, who was also seriously injured, and his son are being treated in Kratie, he said.

Contacted Wednesday about the hit and runs, Kratie deputy provincial military police commander Ma Doeun said that it was the military police’s responsibility to deal with incidents involving its officers.

However, Kratie City police chief O Sam Ang was scathing about the decision by the traffic police to release the military police chief before his officers arrived at the ferry crossing.

“I don’t know why they didn’t arrest him, as regardless of who he is, it is illegal and the law must not protect people who commit hit and runs and do not respect the law,” Mr. Sam Ang said.

Impunity is commonplace for hit-and-runs. In November, CPP lawmaker Cheam Yeap’s Lexus SUV collided with a motorbike, killing the female driver and seriously injuring her husband. Mr. Yeap instructed his driver to leave the scene of the accident and later had his lawyer contact police.

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