Yin Khun Mey, a motorist suspected of killing a university student in a hit-and-run incident in Phnom Penh last month, was admitted to the Khmer Soviet Friendship Hospital on Monday night because she needed urgent medical attention.
Ms Khun Mey, 16, alias Yin Mana, was charged with driving without care and attention, and negligence leading to death, over the incident which drew national attention. If convicted, she could be jailed for up to three years and be fined up to $3,700.
She has been in pre-trial detention ever since she turned herself in after Prime Minister Hun Sen called for the arrest of those responsible for the death of 23-year-old university student Dum Rida.
Hospital director Ngy Meng yesterday said Ms Khun Mey was ill and needed medical attention.
“The doctor will look after her just like other patients,” Mr Meng said. “What she’s accused of does not bother us, we prioritise the life of patients.”
Last week, a rumour circulated on social media saying that Ms Khun Mey was never jailed in the first place due to her influential family. The rumour was dispelled by Cambodian Youth Party president Pich Sros who visited her in prison.
However, other rumours persisted, such as one saying that Ms Khun Mey might flee detention with the assistance of prison officials.
Nouth Savna, spokesman for the Interior Ministry’s General Department of Prisons, said Ms Khun Mey was sent to hospital because of bronchitis and respiratory congestion.
“It’s not that she was born into a rich family. She is very ill. There was nothing prison officials could have done aside from sending her to be treated in hospital,” Mr Savna said. “We cannot allow someone to die when their illness could be treated.”
“People wrongly accused us,” he added. “I want them to ask the doctors themselves to see how serious her illness was.”