Hit-And-Run Case Will Be Sent to Municipal Court

Police will send a hit-and-run traffic accident case allegedly committed by a well-known law­yer to the Phnom Penh Muni­cipal Court, municipal police officials said Tuesday.

Touch Naruth said Monday that attorney Nou Chantha crash­ed into a three-wheeled motorbike Thurs­day night in Mean­chey district, breaking the driver’s leg, and has not cooperated in the investigation.

During an ensuing chase by police after the suspect fled the scene of the accident, a passerby was shot in the stomach, and the lawyer received a wound to his calf muscle, also possibly inflicted by a bullet.

Touch Naruth said police are unsure whether the suspect or police were responsible for the shooting of the bystander.

He added that their investigation has been hampered because Nou Chantha has not permitted police to search his locked Lexus, which has been impounded by traffic police but not yet opened. Nou Chantha is refusing to provide the keys of his vehicle to the police, who are now seeking a search warrant from the court, Touch Naruth said.

He said the police have ordered Calmette Hospital to provide its medical findings regarding the lawyer, which might shed light on just what had caused Nou Chan­tha’s injuries.

Evidence inside the car may also clear up how the lawyer was hurt and whether the suspect, and not the police, is the one who shot the bystander.

Despite not yet knowing who shot the bystander, Him Yan said that Nou Chantha was ultimately responsible. “It is the burden of Nou Chan­tha, because he caused the crimes,” he alleged. “He didn’t stop [following the crash]. If he had continued on, [I] don’t know how many more he would have hit,” Him Yan added.

On Monday, Nou Chantha said by telephone from Calmette Hos­pital that a financial compensation agreement was reached that day regarding the traffic accident. He also denied fleeing despite admitting having left the accident scene.

“I didn’t flee; if they wanted to catch me, they could have done it,” Nou Chantha said. He added that he does not own and has never used a gun.


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