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Officials charged over fatal chase in Mondulkiri

Buth Reaksmey Kongkea / Khmer Times Share:
The accused. CEN

Mondulkiri Provincial Court yesterday charged four officials over a deadly high-speed chase with two vans during a routine crackdown on illegal timber smuggling near the Cambodia-Vietnam border on Saturday.

The high-speed chase left one villager dead, five others injured and damages in Keo Seima district’s Sre Khatum commune.

Brigadier General So Sovann, chief of the provincial general crimes department, identified the accused as Lieutenant Colonel You Ravuth, a military officer with a provincial unit; Captain Vann Ruoth, provincial economic police officer; Srun Chuon, chief of the district forestry administration; and Captain Seang Chamrong, chief of the district’s identifications police department.

Brig Gen Sovann said they were arrested on Saturday after the chase and were all charged with causing death and injuries. All four could be sent to prison for up to ten years, if found guilty.

He noted that police are also looking to arrest two local suspects identified as online TV journalists Sao Samnang and Sao Rany for driving the vans and escaping police. An arrest warrant has been issued by a court judge for their arrest.

Major Sok Savath, an officer with the provincial traffic police, yesterday said the four accused were attempting to apprehend Mr Samnang and Mr Rany during a crackdown on illegal smuggling near the Cambodia-Vietnam border.

Maj Savath said Mr Samnang and Mr Rany fled in two vans upon seeing that a raid was about to happen, which in turn prompted the accused to give chase in four different cars.

However, one of the accused could not properly manoeuvre his car, causing it to lose control and crashing into a villager’s home, killing one man and seriously injuring five others.

“They were arrested because they drove their cars to chase after buses loaded with timber, but they caused one person to die and the person’s home destroyed,” Maj Sovath said. “The crash also injured five other people. They were supposed to be high-ranking officials, but they were careless about their jobs.”

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