No Criminal Charges Against Hit-and-Run Officer

Police said Sunday that they will not pursue charges against Ek Sovannara—the son of a former Kandal provincial police chief—whose Lexus SUV on April 12 crashed into a motorbike carrying three men, killing one and causing the other two to have their left legs amputated.

The family of Dork Meng, 28, who died in hospital after the accident, received four million riel, or about $1,000, from Mr. Sovannara’s driver, according to family members, who said they initially demanded $4,000.

The two men who had their legs amputated received two million riel each, or about $500, in compensation.

“We did not send the complaint to court because the two sides already resolved the problem at our office two weeks ago,” said Noeu Sokhorn, deputy district police chief in Khsach Kandal district, where the accident occurred.

Mr. Sokhorn said that provincial police chief Iev Chamroeun had accepted a recommendation by district police chief Men Sokhoeun to drop the case.

Mr. Sovannara, a police officer himself, said that he met with local police to inform them that he was not involved in the accident, which he claims occurred without him in the car.

“I heard that the driver already solved the problem with the victims’ families, and they agreed to bring an end to the problem,” he said. Mr. Sovannara said that he did now know the name of the driver, as he was merely a drinking companion.

“I already went to the police office and told them that I was not involved in the accident because I just went to look at the event,” Mr. Sovannara added.

Mr. Sokhorn, the deputy police chief, said he had forgotten the name of Mr. Sovannara’s driver.

According to police, Mr. Sovannara and a group of other men at the scene of the accident told police that they would “help solve the problem” after fixing a tire that had been flattened as a result of the crash.

Once the tire was fixed Mr. Sovannara and his associates got into the SUV and sped away, according to a police official who said the driver tried to hit police officers as he drove off.

Sam Leang, the grandfather of Dork Meng, said the family had no choice but to accept $1,000 for their dead relative.

“I understand that the amount of four million riel is not enough to buy a human life,” he said. “But if we still keep demanding [$4,000] we will get nothing because this is what the driver said he can offer.”

In August 2002, Mr. Sovannara was arrested for shooting dead a bodyguard of Prime Minister Hun Sen on a crowded Phnom Penh street following a drunken dispute.

The family of the victim was paid $3,000 in compensation.

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