Hun Sen Threatens Demotions Over Racing Kids

In a three-day operation against road racing and other traffic violations in the capital, Phnom Penh Mu­nicipal police have seized 69 mo­torbikes and four cars, police said Tuesday.

Deputy Municipal Police Chief Vann Nary said police reports have not yet come in from all districts on the operation, which started Sun­day, but he added that while most of the motorbikes were being used for racing, the cars were generally con­fiscated for using illegal sirens.

Sok Sambath, Daun Penh district governor, said 42 motorbikes and two cars have been seized in his district alone.

Lo Luy, Chamkar Mon district gov­­ernor, said eight motorbikes were seized in his district, adding that the drivers were “re-educated,” while their parents have thumb­printed agreements saying their sons will stop racing on the capital’s streets.

Speaking at the National Institute for Education, Prime Minister Hun Sen on Tuesday warned that highranking officials who protect their road-racing children from punishment would not find themselves protected from his wrath.

“I would demote fathers’ ranks to be­­come [ordinary] people if they de­­fend their sons. The stars can be awarded, they can also be re­mov­ed,” he said, referring to stars de­no­ting the military rank of generals.

RCAF Brigadier General Sek Seng said on Nov 22 that his son Sek Sovanarith plowed his car into the wall of the former Ministry of For­­eign Affairs on Sisowath Quay that morning, after racing against the son of a top Interior Ministry of­fi­cial.

It was unclear Tuesday whether any legal action had been taken against either of the two alleged racers.

Sitting in front of the Cambo­di­ana Hotel just a short distance from the scene of the crash, one high school student said the area is usually popular among motorbike ra­cers, who normally show up in the af­ternoon when the traffic is most in­tense.

“Now they don’t because they know the police have a plan,” he said.

Un Hour, a 16-year-old high school student, said he races regularly, and enjoys the attention from passers-by that the notorious be­havior brings.

Jean Van Wetter, road safety co­or­dinator with the NGO Handicap International, said the number of traffic accidents related to speeding in Cambodia is higher than in most countries.

In the first nine months of 2005, 37 percent of all road accident casualties were due to speeding, he said.



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