Red Cross Rejects Donation From Senior Gov’t Official

The Cambodian Red Cross has rejected a donation of $4,000 from a senior government official who obtained the cash by demanding compensation from a taxi driver who crashed while she was in his vehicle last month, according to a statement from the organization.

Sam Monnika, a secretary of state at the Ministry of Tourism, received the $4,000 compensation after a police officer used Facebook to raise the funds to cover for the taxi driver, who could not afford to meet the demands.

The Cambodian Red Cross, however, released a statement Thursday rejecting the donation based on the organization’s “principles.”

“The Cambodian Red Cross would like to turn down this money,” the statement says.

Ms. Monnika, who announced her intention to give the money to the charity during an interview with Bayon Television, said she and three other officials were injured when the taxi slid off the road in Ratanakkiri province’s Kon Mom district on October 19.

They asked taxi owner Kim Piseth for $1,000 compensation per passenger. He said he could not possibly come up with the funds, having pawned his land to buy the car.

After hearing of Mr. Piseth’s plight, Pheng Vannak—a police officer who said he does not know the taxi driver personally—appealed on social media for people to donate money to the cause.

“More than 40 people who shared money to help him including Information Minister Khieu Kanharith,” Mr. Vannak said.

Mr. Vannak said that he and Mr. Piseth’s wife on Wednesday presented $4,000 to Ms. Monnika, who confirmed Thursday she had received the funds before accusing the pair of going public with the transaction in an attempt to ruin her reputation.

“Why do they hurt me and destroy my credibility like this? I am a victim but I now look like a bad person and the car owner looks like a good person,” Ms. Monnika said.

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