The motorist found guilty of killing a university student in March was released on Monday after spending two months in prison, leading public criticism of the Kingdom’s justice system.
On May 17, Yin Khun Mey, also known as Yin Mana, was sentenced to one year in prison over the death of 19-year-old Dum Rida, whom she hit with her SUV on Street 228 in Tuol Kork district in March.
However, Judge Ouk Sovannarith suspended 10 months of the sentence, leading to Ms Khun Mey’s release on Monday after serving two months behind bars from the time of her arrest.
Judge Sovannarith also placed her on three years of probation after convicting her of driving without care and attention, and negligence leading to death over the traffic accident.
The outcome elicited outcry from the victim’s friends and the public yesterday.
Orn Vannak, 22, said Ms Rida was his friend and Ms Khun Mey’s sentence was too light for the crime that was committed.
“The court releasing her looks bad – it is unfair to the victim,” Mr Vannak said. “The law doesn’t treat every prisoner equally.”
Mr Vannak noted that there is a clear distinction in how the law treats those with money and power.
“The way the law is implemented between the rich and poor is so different,” he noted.
Family members of Ms Rida could not be reached for comment yesterday.
In the weeks after the crash, Ms Rida’s mother Path Pov filed a lawsuit against the family of Ms Khun Mey, leading to an out-of-court settlement of $70,000 in compensation for the loss of her daughter.
Phoung Vantha, a 33-year-old university student, yesterday said he was shocked to hear about Ms Khun Mey’s release from prison, noting that she has not been held fully accountable for the hit-and-run incident.
“I followed the story and I learned that she escaped and refused to turn herself in to police until the Prime Minister issued a warning,” Mr Vantha said. “Yin Mana should be in jail longer than two months. I saw the video footage – she was speeding. It’s unacceptable.”
After the crash, footage of the incident garnered attention from social media users, prompting Prime Minister Hun Sen to order the arrest of those involved and government lawyer Ky Tech to provide two attorneys to assist Ms Pov.
Soeng Sen Karuna, senior investigator with rights group Adhoc, yesterday said the court cannot escape criticism because the case became high profile.
“I think her release cannot avoid public criticism because we know that in our country, wealthy people charged with a crime would get a lighter sentence than poor people,” Mr Sen Karuna said. “We do not want this to happen; we want to see all people be equal before the law.”
Lieutenant General Nuth Savna, spokesman for the General Department of Prisons, yesterday confirmed that Ms Khun Mey left prison Monday evening.
“It has been two months since she was brought to the police and detained in PJ prison,” Lt Gen Savna said.