Police Hunting for Commune Police Chief After Hit-and-Run

A commune police chief from Kompong Thom province was on the run on Monday after allegedly killing two teenagers and seriously injuring a third when he hit a motorbike while driving at high speed in Kompong Cham province on Saturday night, police said.

Thol Veasna, 18, and Se Vuthy, 17, died immediately after crashing head-on with a Toyota Camry at about 11:30 p.m. in Choeung Prey district’s Sdoeung Chey commune on Saturday, according to district police chief Prak Sokun.

The driver of the car immediately fled on foot, abandoning the car as it was damaged after the crash. After inspecting the vehicle, police identified the owner as Muk Ouksam Ath, the police chief of Baray district’s Chraloang commune.

“We know his name and his position because we found documentation in the car,” Mr. Sokun said. “He might have been too drunk. That’s why his car crashed into a motorbike coming in the opposite direction.”

A third passenger, Thai Thea, 17, was rushed to the Choeung Prey referral hospital and had to be transferred to a hospital in Phnom Penh due to the severity of his injuries, Mr. Sokun said.

Soung Phen, Baray district police chief, confirmed that Mr. Ouksam Ath was the police chief of Chraloang commune and that he had failed to turn up for work on Monday.

“We have cooperated with Kompong Cham police to make an arrest in response to the accident,” he said. “On behalf of the authorities he should not have fled and he should come and respond.”

The fatal crash is just the latest in an ever-growing list of hit-and-runs involving officials in Cambodia.

Last week, a deputy Oddar Meanchey provincial governor fled the scene after his Lexus SUV hit and killed an 8-year-old boy crossing a road on a bicycle. In September, a senior Forestry Administration official was released without charge after drunkenly killing a security guard with his vehicle—also a Lexus SUV—in Siem Reap province.

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