Teenage Monk Arrested Over Ten-Meter Joyride and Crash

A 16-year-old monk who took a senior monk’s SUV on a high-speed drive on Monday and smashed into two motorbikes, injuring four people, was arrested in Sihanoukville and later defrocked, police said.

Yu Sothi, a monk from Phnom Touch pagoda in Kompong Speu province, was traveling with Den Makara, the pagoda’s senior monk, and a driver through Bei commune when they stopped outside a convenience store at about 7:10 p.m., according to provincial traffic police chief Prum Pov.

As the driver and elder monk entered the shop, the teenager decided to take the car for a spin, but crashed within seconds of climbing behind the wheel and driving down Independence Street, he said.

“He was test driving and speeding and then crashed into people who were driving along the street,” Mr. Pov said.

Kep Sopheak, deputy provincial traffic police chief, said the teenage monk smashed into the rear of a motorbike carrying three Indonesian nationals about 10 meters from where he had set off, before reversing into a Cambodian also on a motorbike.

“At first he was speeding and crashed into a motorbike, injuring three people,” Mr. Sopheak said. “Then he seemed to be nervous, so he reversed the vehicle and proceeded to crash into one more motorbike, injuring another man.”

“This is the only monk in Cambodia who has committed something like this so far,” he said.

The young monk was arrested at the scene while the four injured men were rushed to a nearby private clinic, the deputy chief said, adding that one of the men was then transferred to a hospital in Phnom Penh with a broken rib.

After his arrest, the young monk was defrocked by Preah Sihanouk provincial monks, while the senior monk—the owner of the car—will be required to pay compensation to the victims, Mr. Sopheak said.

“He must take responsibility for compensation because he and his driver were careless,” he said.

The teenage monk will be sent to the provincial court today with police recommending charges of reckless driving causing injury, he added.


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