Guilty Verdict, $100K Damages in Prince Ranariddh Crash Case

The man who plowed a truck into the side of Prince Norodom Ranariddh’s SUV in Kompong Cham province in April, leaving the prince’s wife with head injuries, was sentenced in absentia to three years in jail on Wednesday, with the truck’s owner ordered to pay $100,000 compensation, according to lawyers for both parties.

Chhoeun Ron escaped after driving a truck loaded with dirt into Prince Ranariddh’s BMW X5 SUV on a rural stretch of National Road 7 in Prey Chhor district, leaving Prince Ranariddh slightly injured but sending his wife, Ouk Phalla, for extended treatment in Bangkok.

At the Kompong Cham Provincial Court Wednesday, Presiding Judge Pok Sovanny gave him three years in jail, while also ordering Lun Sophat, the owner of the truck, to pay 400 million riel (about $100,000) in compensation, according to lawyers for both Prince Ranariddh and Mr. Sophat.

Kea Eav, the lawyer for Mr. Sophat, said his client had initially said he owned the vehicle but in fact he did not, and that documents show it belongs to his business partner, Kem Leng.

“The real owner of the vehicle showed up and took responsibility for the car. It belongs to Kem Leng, and there was evidence to show the car belongs to her,” Mr. Eav said.

“The court made a decision without looking at that evidence,” he said. “I am going to file to the appeal court soon.”

Somrach Kosal, the lawyer for the prince, also said he would appeal, explaining that the amount of compensation was not enough to recompense the injuries sustained by Ms. Phalla and costs of the resulting medical treatment.

“The compensation that I ordered to the court was $360,000, and we will keep demanding this amount of money,” Mr. Kosal said.

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