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Firecracker vendors cleared of blast

Buth Reaksmey Kongkea / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
Nine suspects were released with a warning. Supplied

Nine firecracker vendors arrested on Monday in connection with an explosion that killed two people and injured two others in Banteay Meanchey province were freed yesterday after a warning not to sell any more fireworks.

A truck carrying the firecrackers exploded on Friday of last week on National Road 5 in Mongkol Borey district.

Man Phirum, deputy commander of Banteay Meanchey provincial military police, said those arrested were Bou Thida, 28, Saing Sorphoan, 31, Than Phanha, 32, Rin Nead, 32, Ouk Phom, 45, King Chrip, 48, Yath Sokun, 49, Hea Muy, 60, and Ear Muyyou, 65.

All are from Banteay Meanchey province.

Supplied

“They were arrested because they imported the firecrackers from Thailand to sell in the province without authorisation,” Mr Phirum said.

“Military police suspected they were involved in the explosion of a truck stocked with firecrackers, but after questioning, it emerged that they were not.”

“They were linked to the importation of firecrackers from Thailand to sell in the country without permission,” he added.

He said the nine were freed by the provincial court prosecutor after they were given advice and signed a contract with military police promising they would no longer import or sell firecrackers in their grocery shops.

Provincial military police officer Vong Piseth said an investigation had shown the truck explosion was caused by carelessness.

“The truck was loaded with eight tonnes of firecrackers and was being driven from Banteay Meanchey province for sale ahead of the Pchum Ben festival in Phnom Penh,” he said.

The driver had loaded the firecrackers incorrectly and they went off due to bumps in the road as he drove quickly.

He said it was the first time such an accident had happened in Cambodia.

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