RCAF Soldier Detained in Thailand Over Deadly Hit-and Run

A Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) soldier was arrested by Thai authorities Wednesday on suspicion of a hit-and-run that killed a man across the border and was being detained Friday at a courthouse in Thailand’s Chonburi province, officials said.

Rong Sarim, deputy military commander in Battambang province’s Sampov Loun district, was detained by Thai police after he fled a collision that left one Thai national dead and another seriously injured following a trip to a hospital across the border, said Sareth Viset, Phnom Proek district deputy police chief. 

“He went to Chonburi with his wife for a check up on her pregnancy and he used to go there often on holiday,” Mr. Viset said.

When Mr. Sarim was about 20 km from the border he smashed his car, which was also carrying his two children, into the back of a motorbike carrying two passengers and fled the scene, he added.

“At about 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Mr. Sarim hit the back of a motorbike and a Thai man died immediately while the woman was seriously injured with a large cut to her leg,” Mr. Viset said.

“After the hit and run, he tried to pass to Phnom Proek through the O’Rumduol border checkpoint to escape, but Thai authorities blocked the way about 20 km from the Cambodian side of the border,” he said, adding that he was being held at the Chonburi provincial courthouse.

Despite the military official’s incarceration, Hom Khvek, deputy commander of the the sub-military region in Battambang province, said he believed a deal could be struck to ensure Mr. Sarim’s release.

“I got reports he might be able to solve the case with the Thai authorities, because Thai authorities always forgive us,” Mr. Khvek said.

Thai Army spokesman Winthai Suvari said he had not received any reports on Mr. Sarim’s case.

“I checked with the army and the commanders [in Chonburi] but we haven’t got that information regarding the Cambodian soldier,” Colonel Suvari said.

A spokesman for the Thai police could not be reached for comment.

(Additional reporting by George Wright)

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