Briefs: Train Crash in Pursat, Opposition Parties Want to Discuss Reforms

3 min read
A train hit a car stopped on the tracks in Pursat province’s Krakor district, with no people injured, on August 15, 2022. (Supplied)
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A southbound train on the Phnom Penh-Battambang rail line hit a car in Pursat province, dragging it around 20 meters.

The train struck the car on August 15 in Pursat’s Krakor district as it was traveling to Phnom Penh on the line that was restored in 2018. The driver saw the oncoming train, panicked and stopped on the tracks, said Nhoem Vutha, Chhoeu Tom commune police chief. 

He added that the train was moving at around 20 km/h when it hit the car and that no one was hurt in the incident. A similar incident has occured at the same spot last year, Vutha said, 

“We know that in this situation it is easy to have an accident. First there is no bar or fence, second, there is no one standing by and that is the problem.” Vutha said.

Ly Seng Hin, the Krakor district governor, said he would work to get a railway crossing gate installed at the location and inform people about the potential dangers of crossing the tracks. He added that major roads had crossing gates but not smaller roads with less traffic.

Similar incidents have been reported on the southern line from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville, which transports passenger carriages and freight trains. 

— Roun Ry

Four Parties Want to Meet NEC, National Assembly

Four opposition parties want to meet the National Assembly representatives, an elections regulator and Interior Ministry to suggest electoral reforms they say are needed to ensure a smoother election in 2023.

The four parties — Candlelight Party, Khmer Will Party, Grassroots Democratic Party and Cambodia Reform Party — jointly pushed for electoral reforms, especially a rearrangement of the National Election Committee ahead of the national election in July 2023. The parties had separately alleged irregularities in registration of candidates and electoral agents, voting day violations and questioned the counting process. 

Representatives from the group of parties said they want to meet the representatives from the NEC, National Assembly and Interior Ministry to discuss these proposals, which a ruling party official outright rejected in July.

Kong Monika, president of the Khmer Will Party, said the parties will submit letters to the three bodies this week requesting a meeting.

Ou Chanrath, founder of the Cambodia Reform Party, said the group would raise 12 points, including prevention of political threats during the registration period.

“In some communes and provinces, we already know that people and activists and some lower level politicians still believe that … whenever their [party] becomes a bit bigger, then their [party] will still be dissolved.”

National Assembly spokesperson Leng Peng Long said the body’s expert committee will decide whether to meet the four parties, and NEC spokesperson Hang Puthea said he could not comment before receiving the letter.

— Nhim Sokhorn

Supreme Court Sends Thai Women Drug Case Back to Appeal Court

The Supreme Court sent the case of two Thai women convicted for drug smuggling back to the Appeal Court for retrial. 

Tongoon Worapha and Sornsin Ruthairat were arrested in June 2018 with five kilos of methamphetamines at Phnom Penh International Airport, which they were trying to smuggle to Japan, according to details of the case read out in court last week.

The two women were sentenced to 30 years in prison and fined around $15,000 each. Another woman, accused of being the ringleader, was convicted in absentia and sentenced to 30 years in jail and fined around $19,500.

Judge Kim Sathavy announced on Wednesday the court’s decision to send the case back to Appeal Court for a retrial because the lower court’s decision to uphold the prison sentences for the duo was wrong.

The court did not give any reasoning for the decision, but read out segments from the prosecution’s arguments. They also read the defense’s assertion that the sentences were not in line with facts of the case where five kilograms of drugs were confiscated — two kilos found with Worapha and three with Ruthairat — and was only 50% purity.

— Ouch Sony

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