Officer Tries to Buy Way Out of Hit-and-Run Case

A military police officer whose truck was involved in a fatal hit-and-run last month said Thursday that he is now negotiating compensation with the victims in order to avoid potential criminal charges.

Lieutenant Colonel Or Sim, an officer with the national military police, claims a security guard was driving his Toyota Tundra when it slammed into two motorbikes and killed two people on May 30.

Khiem Neary, 41, and Sean Veasna, 23, died at the intersection of Norodom and Mao Tse Toung Boulevards, while Nguon Ousa, 26, was sent to Calmette Hospital with severe injuries.

Traffic police investigated the case and submitted their findings to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, where it has stalled. The driver, who has not yet been identified, remains a free man and has yet to be charged.

Lt. Col. Sim said he has been negotiating compensation with the families and again met with victims Thursday with a court clerk present.

“The court will not charge anymore because we will solve the problem,” he said. “That’s why we try to solve the problem out of court.”

Lay Bopha, the court clerk present at Thursday’s meeting, said Lt. Col. Sim is mistaken in thinking that compensation may lead to the criminal case being dropped. “According to the law, the driver will be charged criminally even though compensations has been offered,” she said.

Ms. Bopha said she attended the meeting because she “just wanted to help” the two sides negotiate a compromise.

Sean Pros, the older bother of victim Sean Veasna, said he demanded $6,000 and a secondhand motorbike as compensation for his brother’s death.

“The car’s representative told me that he will consider my request,” he said, adding his family does not “care about the court case.”

“We will withdraw our complaint if we get appropriate compensation,” he said.

Lt. Col. Sim said Thursday’s meeting was a step forward “because the victim’s family had demanded too much for compensation.”

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