Interior Minister Sar Kheng yesterday called for people across the country to not use violence against people who cause traffic accidents and wait for the law solve it.
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony for a stretch of road connecting Ratanak Mondul district to Samlot district in Battambang province, Mr Kheng said that violence was not the answer in the event of a traffic accident.
“Please, do not use violence if a traffic accident occurs. We have to calm down and forgive each other. Even if the accident was intentional, we have to find another way to solve it without resorting to violence,” he said.
“Violence after a traffic accident happens because some people’s morals are still low; they are too aggressive. So, we must avoid this activity from happening again and solve it through the law.”
Mr Kheng’s comments came after a traffic accident on March 11 that resulted in mob violence against Suy Sareth, a 52-year-old professor at the University of Cambodia.
Mr Sareth was badly beaten and seriously injured after allegedly fleeing a hit-and-run in Phnom Penh. The suspects beat him, destroyed his SUV and looted his property before fleeing. He was sent to Vietnam for treatment.
Mr Sareth’s defence lawyer Chhy Sambath said yesterday that his client’s health has improved because he can speak and eat a little food.
“He is still staying in hospital in Vietnam to check on his health. We don’t know when he will allowed to leave,” he said.
Mr Sambath said that police have arrested three people involved in the beating of Mr Sareth and the court already charged them with intentional violence with aggravating circumstances and intentional damage with aggravating circumstances. They have been detained in prison pending further investigation.
Mr Sambath said that police were investigating to arrest another eight suspects involved in the case. Police know the identities of five of them while they only have photographs of the other three.
“The victim has not yet received compensation from the suspects,” Mr Sambath added, saying the victim’s family has demanded about $300,000 from the suspects.
Late last month, Prime Minister Hun Sen ordered the arrests of the remaining suspects who beat Mr Sareth and called the violence against the professor unacceptable.
“The act of violence that has just recently happened in Phnom Penh, related to a traffic accident, absolutely should not be welcomed and must be strongly condemned. And the suspects must be arrested and brought to justice,” said Mr Hun Sen.
“We really need people to participate in respecting the Traffic Law to prevent traffic accidents from happening. But we should not gather people to beat and kill anyone.”