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Funcinpec to hire lawyer over fatal crash

Khy Sovuthy / Khmer Times Share:
Senior members of Funcinpec at a press briefing on Saturday. KT/Chor Sokunthea

The Funcipec party has decided to hire a lawyer to review the traffic accident case that left Prince Norodom Ranariddh hospitalised in Thailand and killed his wife Ouk Phalla.

You Hockry, vice president of Funcipec, said on Saturday that party officials have “temporarily” accepted the results of the police investigation, which concluded that a taxi driver accidentally smashed head-on into the Prince’s vehicle on June 17.

“We have to temporarily believe the report made by authorities because we did not join the investigation,” he said. “We will send a lawyer to study the case at the court to see whether what has been concluded is in fact the truth.”

In the wake of the fatal crash, Funcinpec party officials floated the idea that the crash could have been planned, a theory later ruled out during a press conference held by the National Police.

General Him Yan, deputy National Police chief, told the press on Thursday that the taxi driver, Mil Saret, was carrying six passengers as he was speeding to overtake another car along National Road 4 in Preah Sihanouk province’s Ou’Oknha Heng commune.

Police concluded that the taxi was overloaded and Mr Saret had an extra passenger next to him.

“It was a traffic accident and the National Police entirely deny any information beyond this,” Gen Yan said. “We can conclude that it was a traffic accident caused by Mr Mil Saret.”

“There are two reasons for the crash,” Mr Yan added. “First, he was driving very fast and second, the Highlander was packed with passengers, making it difficult to control the vehicle.”

“Mil Saret admitted that he was driving 100 kilometres per hour while overtaking another car,” he noted. “It was a traffic accident.”

Mr Saret has been charged with careless driving causing injury and death and is being detained at the provincial prison pending his trial.

Meanwhile, the Prince is making a full recovery in Thailand, said Mr Hockry, who noted that the Prince asked his officials to advise people to vote in the upcoming national poll.

“The Prince appealed for all the people to go to vote on July 29,” he said, adding that he has high hopes for the Prince to return to Cambodia soon.

Yim Savy, secretary-general of the Funcipec party, said yesterday that party officials are now determining whether to visit the Prince and finally inform him of his wife’s death.

Ouk Phalla, the Prince’s wife, was cremated on Wednesday in front of Botum pagoda in Phnom Penh.

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