RCAF Officer Detained After Crash, Chase

A military officer was arrested and briefly detained in Phnom Penh’s Pur Senchey district on Saturday after he drunkenly crashed his SUV into a motorbike and three food carts before leading police and angry locals on a low-speed chase through the city, officials said Sunday.

Theng Kosal, police chief in Choam Chao commune, said the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) officer—whom he refused to identify—crashed his SUV into the motorbike and carts at about 6 p.m. on Saturday.

A video that began circulating online shortly after the accident appears to show the Toyota Land Cruiser with RCAF license plates maneuvering through heavy traffic before suddenly lurching forward, hitting a motorbike—whose driver only barely avoids being run over.

The officer then swerves to the right and crashes into the food carts before driving off, with rock- and brick-throwing motorists in pursuit.

Mr. Kosal said police arrested the officer 30 minutes after the series of collisions and released him several hours later because the accident had been minor.

“Right now, the SUV and motorbike are being kept at the commune police station until there is a resolution,” he said, adding that the driver of the motorbike was demanding $3,000 to cover repairs to his vehicle and treatment for minor leg injuries.

Poeuk Heng, deputy district traffic police chief, who is in charge of the case, said the SUV’s driver was a 40-year-old officer from RCAF’s Brigade 911. He also refused to provide the man’s name or rank.

“He looked like a drunk man and was sleeping in the commune police station while being questioned,” he said.

Mr. Heng said the officer agreed to pay between $100 and $200 to the owners of each of the three food carts, and was still negotiating a payout for the 30-year-old driver of the motorbike.

He added that locals broke the Land Cruiser’s rear windows and windscreen with rocks during the chase.

Saturday’s accident came just over a week after the driver of another SUV with RCAF plates killed a woman in Banteay Meanchey province before fleeing on foot.

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