More Than 60 Riot Outside Dry Port After Fatal Road Accident

More than 60 people rioted in front of a private transport firm’s dry port in Pur Senchey district on Wednesday night after one of the company’s container trucks was involved in a fatal road accident, police said Thursday.

At about 5 p.m. on Wednesday, an unhitched container truck driven by an employee of the Tec Srun Import Export Transport & Dry Port Company in Choam Chao commune made a right-hand turn into the port off of National Road 4, commune police chief Heng Kosal said.

“When the truck turned right, the motorbike crashed into its side,” Mr. Kosal said.

The driver of the motorbike, 20-year-old Tim Soleakhena, was launched onto the sidewalk, where she hit her head and died immediately, he said.

Tim Soleakhena’s 2-year-old son and an unidentified 20-year-old female passenger were also injured, Mr. Kosal said, adding that both women were garment workers in Pur Senchey district.

The driver then parked the truck inside the gates of the port and fled the scene, he said.

At about 7 p.m.—as the injured boy and woman were brought to Preah Kossamak Hospital—more than 60 people gathered at the port to demand that a company representative take responsibility for the accident, Mr. Kosal said. Tim Soleakhena’s body was placed in front of the gates, he said.

When nobody appeared, Mr. Kosal said, the crowd began throwing rocks, and police were called to the scene.

“There were few police officers, but there were more than 60 angry people, so we could not prevent them from becoming violent.”

Taing An, a municipal traffic police officer, who arrived at the scene to investigate the accident, said one district police officer suffered minor injuries and two police cars were damaged by rocks.

“The violence happened because no one would listen to us,” he said, adding that no arrests were made.

Mr. An said police were still trying to determine who was responsible for the traffic accident.

Bun Sothea, a manager at the port, said the company had agreed to compensate Tim Soleakhena’s family. “We will take responsibility for the accident,” he said.

Mr. Sothea, however, refused to identify the truck driver.

“After the accident, he drove the truck into the port before running away…. I do not know where he went,” he said.

Mr. Sothea said the crowd outside the gates also damaged company property.

“The protesters burned down our guardhouse and destroyed the circuit breaker, making our company dark the whole night,” he said.

“We will not file complaints against them because we don’t want any more trouble.”

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