Student Who Caused Crash Released by Police

Police released the student ar­res­­ted for causing Thursday’s deadly crash on Phnom Penh’s Chroy Changvar bridge after a high-ranking official agreed to pay more than $15,000 on his behalf in compensation to the surviving victim and the families of the dead, police said Sunday.

Kong Vannin, 23, was released Saturday after he was arrested Thursday, accused of crashing his car into two motorcycles on the bridge, killing students Em Malan, 18, and Ham Maneth, 21, and mo­tor­bike taxi driver Chan Vantan, 21, said Mao Sony, deputy chief of Mu­nicipal Traffic police.

A fourth person, Hor Chandy, 18, is still being treated at Calmette Hospital for a broken leg, said Dr Yin Song Lin.

An official from Kong Vannin’s family has paid $4,600 to Chan Vantan’s family, $4,500 to Ham Maneth’s family, $3,500 to Em Ma­­lan’s family, and $2,600 to Hor Chandy, Mao Sony said.

He also said the families of those killed have been offered an ad­ditional $1,600 to cover cremation expenses.

Mao Sony said that Kong Va­n­nin is still facing criminal charges and that the case against him is still open despite the compensation payments.

“Kong Vannin’s father, who is a De­fense Ministry high-ranking of­ficial, promised, if the court summons his son, he will bring him to the court,” Mao Sony said, declining to name the high-ranking official. “His father took him to apologize for each of the dead victims and to contribute for the suffering of the victims’ families.”

Police officials have said Kong Vannin, who graduated from the Na­tional University of Manage­ment last week, was so drunk he crossed two lanes of oncoming traf­fic and smashed into the bridge’s railing, knocking two of the dead into the Tonle Sap river.

Co-Minister of Defense Tea Banh said by phone Sunday that Kong Vannin was not his son. He ad­­ded that he was sorry about the ac­cident.


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