Official Hits Motorbike, Flees, Crashes Again

The chief of economic crime po­lice in Preah Sihanouk province was being questioned on Friday night after police said he smashed into a motorbike carrying two In­donesian men and drove off be­fore crashing into the curb of a roundabout.

Prom Pov, chief of the provincial traffic police, said that Chao Meng was driving home after having dinner with a colleague on Thursday night when he crashed his SUV into a motorbike near the Snake House restaurant and menagerie in Sihanoukville.

“At about 10 p.m., he was driving his SUV from his dinner with an­other police officer from the Inter­ior Ministry, then he hit a motorbike with two Indonesian nationals,” Mr. Pov said, adding that the pair sustained “minor injuries.”

After knocking the two men from the motorbike, Mr. Meng con­tinued to drive before plowing into a curb, destroying his front tires and coming to a halt on the round­about, he said. Despite the official fleeing the scene after the collision, Mr. Pov was hesitant to lab­el the incident a hit-and-run.

“I cannot say whether he was trying to escape or not,” Mr. Pov said. “He kept driving after hitting the motorbike, then shortly after he also hit the edge of the dolphin roundabout.”

“I’m not sure how fast he was driv­i­ng,” he added. “It was normal.”

Police had not arrested Mr. Meng as the accident was “minor” and the official had promised to compensate the two victims, Mr. Pov added. However, he said the official was being questioned on Friday evening, and did not rule out the possibility of prosecution.

“On that night I was not there, but today we asked him to come for questioning,” he said.

Asked if Mr. Meng would be arrested, he replied, “I’m not sure yet…. Let’s wait and see.”

Mr. Meng could not be reached for comment.

Thursday’s alleged incident is the latest in a series of hit-and-runs in recent years involving officials, who invariably avoid court.

In September, Yan Sideth, a sen­ior Forestry Administration official, drunkenly killed a motorist with his car, leading to a high-speed po­lice chase through Siem Reap prov­ince. He was later released without charge after police concluded he had no “intention to murder” the victim.

In November 2013, a Lexus SUV transporting senior CPP lawmaker Cheam Yeap crashed into a couple on a motorbike, killing the wife and dragging the motorbike beneath the vehicle for 50 meters before speeding away. Mr. Yeap said there was no wrongdoing as he immediately informed his law­yer of the situation.

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