Ranariddh in car accident

By: Vong Sokheng

Funcinpec party head Prince Norodom Ranariddh was the victim of a hit-and-run accident on Saturday that left at least six injured in Kampong Cham province, including the prince’s wife, officials said yesterday.

Funcinpec spokesperson Nhep Bun Chin said in an interview yesterday that he “dared not say” the car crash was an act of political terrorism, but expressed doubt that it was simply an accident.

“The matter of the truck hitting the prince’s car was not normal,” he said. “I would like to appeal to all relevant authorities to thoroughly investigate [the case] and to bring justice for the prince. It was not incidental, because the truck escaped and hit the prince’s car in the right lane.”

Bun Chin said that he has asked the party’s legal team to prepare a lawsuit with regards to the accident, but declined to give details, including which lawyer was working on the case. It is expected to be filed today.

“I cannot speak about the lawsuit, and must leave it to the lawyers to work out the legal procedures,” he said.

He added that the prince’s wife, Ouk Phalla, was seriously injured and sent to a hospital in Bangkok yesterday.

However, Kampong Cham provincial police chief Ben Rath yesterday quickly dismissed allegations that the hit-and-run was politically motivated.

“I went to the site of incident and thoroughly examined [it],” he said. “It was confirmed as a traffic accident. It was not a political matter.”

The accident occurred on Saturday afternoon, when a dump truck hit the prince’s motorcade while it was on its way back to Phnom Penh from Kampong Cham province following a political rally. The truck hit the prince’s vehicle and one of his bodyguards’.

The prince, son of the late King Norodom Sihanouk, met nearly 3,000 supporters in Wat Kor in the Prey Chhor district of Kampong Cham.

There he urged people to not vote for the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), arguing that CNRP leader Sam Rainsy and deputy Kem Sokha egged on demonstrations following the 2013 election – which ultimately left at least five dead – to serve their own political interests and further their ability to gain a foothold in the National Assembly.

The prince went on to lash out at Rainsy for having in the past attacked the prince’s power-sharing agreement with Prime Minister Hun Sen’s ruling Cambodia People’s Party (CPP) following the 1993 election.

“While you [Rainsy] hit me, I will hit back at you and I will play until the end,” Ranariddh told his supporters. “If I did not share power at that time, civil war would have occurred . . . Ranariddh shared power to consider the interests of the nation and the lives of the Cambodian people.”