Crossing Cambodia

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Australian Celebrates Road Safety Week in Style

Two articles in the Cambodia Daily of 10 April, 2007 placed under each other (coincidence?) draw attention to a campaign to limit Khmer New Year celebration traffic accidents and exposing the drunken (?) deeds of an Australian.
'Cambodia's first-ever Road Safety Week, ... was launched Saturday in an effort to curb the high [er?] rate of traffic accidents during the upcoming Khmer New Year and in general nationwide'.
'Over the three day stretch of Khmer New Year in 2006 nearly four times as many people died daily ...'.
'"Road casualties increase by 15 percent every year" he [Chum Iek, secretary for state for the Transport Ministry] said'.
Then the article sums up the new traffic law offenses and implications:
'The new law requires all motorbike drivers to wear a helmet as well as possess a driver's license. It also clearly lists penalties for drunk driving that range from fines of about $1.50 to $250 or six months in jail'.
It's here were the relevance of the other article kicks in. The Cambodia Daily goes out of it's way to report on a case of minor damage but caused by an Australian, identified as a mining company employee, which adds to the glee as it's not a development expat nor an English teacher, the major sections of Cambodia's Daily readers.
The offense:
'... allegedly plowed a late-model Lexus into three cars, two motorcycles and a building ... before slamming into a tree ... in the early hours of Saturday morning'.
And then the police: The report was brought by a
'municipal traffic police official who helps broker disputes stemming from car crashes'.
An official car crash broker?
'Although the driver appeared to be drunk at the wheel, no charges will be laid against him because he voluntarily reported the incident to the police'.
'One of the three cars that were damaged belonged to Phnom Penh's Deputy Police Chief Pol Phietthey'.
' ... "we [Khampuchea Shipping Agency and Brokers] want the person who made the damage to pay", adding that around $100 worth of damage was done to the building'.
Was that all? Why then does this article concerning the crash warrant more words than the Road Safety Week?
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