A high-speed car race—allegedly between the sons of two senior government officials—ended on Tuesday morning when one driver smashed through the front wall of the former Ministry of Foreign Affairs building on Sisowath Quay, officials said.
RCAF Brigadier General Sek Seng said his son Sek Sovanarith, 20, was driving the black 2004 Toyota Camry when it plowed into the wall and railings surrounding the former ministry, is now a school for Buddhist monks at about 9:30 am.
“My son is naughty,” said Sek Seng, adding that his son, a 12th grade student at Sisowath High School, had been racing against the son of a top-ranking Interior Ministry official at the time.
“This morning he raced his car with [the official’s] son and he won $20. But the last round, he was driving to show his achievement, and then the incident occurred,” Sek Seng said.
Phok Phearin, deputy director at the institute for Buddhists, said Sek Seng has promised to fix the railings by today.
“Their car racing this morning crashed and broke the fence, which was about 12 meters long,” Phok Phearin said.
“I heard the brakes,” he added.
Fruit vendors near the incident said they witnessed the crash and saw two young men inside the car flee the scene of the crash on a motorbike taxi.
The senior Interior Ministry official’s name provided by Sek Seng was repeated to both Khieu Sopheak, Interior Ministry spokesman, and Sok Phal, deputy national police commissioner, who both said they were unaware of any link between the crash and the official.
The high-speed crash is the latest in a series of car wrecks caused by government officials or their fast-driving offspring.
Seven people were killed in September when a car speeding down Monivong Boulevard crashed near a fruit juice stand.
A 31-year-old military police official from Takeo province was charged with intentional killing and destroying public property following the crash, which occurred on Sept 12. Another suspect fled the scene.
On May 5, three people were killed after the 23-year-old son of a Ministry of Defense official crashed his speeding car while driving drunk on the wrong side of the road crossing the Chroy Changvar bridge.
Officials said at the time that he was released from police custody after his father paid more than $15,000 in compensation to the victims, some of who were knocked into the Tonle Sap river.
In May 2004, Det Veasna, whose yellow wheelchair and colorful personality were well known to locals and expatriates, died after being hit on Sisowath Quay when a speeding car driven by the son of an RCAF general swerved onto the pavement and plowed into a shop front.
(Additional reporting by Samantha Melamed)