Sunday, June 18, 2017

Legal Concepts - Sort of

Here is the short video clip of an accident that recently happened on a Phnom Penh street. It was picked apart and interpreted on an expat site with the majority saying the Khmer motorbike rider was at fault. I am putting this up here just for the individual viewer to draw their own conclusions although I will make a comment on a few facts.

Here is a still picture:

You will notice that the second is very close to the preceding SUV and there is a moto rider obviously trying to use the gap to get onto the other side of the street. There is no heavy traffic as in rush hour as the small SUV driver later claimed.

This video clearly shows that the small SUV is tailgaiting the larger SUV and speeding up unnecessarily. Rear-ending a preceding vehicle is always considered being at fault, by the way.

One has to bear in mind that Cambodian drivers and especially moto riders act very erratically in traffic. They might just turn this way or that way without using their turn signals, hand signals, or similar to indicate their intentions. When participating in Cambodian traffic this means that one has to be aware of this and act accordingly, e. g. with all caution, whether you are a pedestrian, bicycle or moto rider, or driving a car. In other words you have to take into account what the other participants might do at any moment and be ready to react instantly.

So what do you think given the circumstances and the country with its different culture? It should be quite clear, or is it?

Here is another examples how the law is interpreted and enforced in Cambodia.

The video is not too clear but the passing vehicle clips the car with the camera slightly and just keeps on driving. A classic hit-and-run accident. So the damaged vehicle is in pursuit to catch up with the offender. All of a sudden the window on the driver side of the fleeing Camry opens and a gun appears. A shot is fired and the pursuer gives up the chase and follows slowly. No one was hurt.

Amazingly, the police arrested the culprit in no time at all and, lo and behold, let him go. He happened to be the deputy police chief of a district with the rank of a lt. colonel and also the son of a high ranking official in the Interior Ministry, in charge of the police nation-wide. The district police chief even publicly said he was let go because of his father, a state secretary no less, who intervened. This state secretary even maintained his son had acted in self-defense as he was followed by a car (?????).

After a public outcry officialdom thought it expedient to do something so the offender was demoted to be a traffic policeman and fined a rather puny amount. Let's assume he will be back on his job with his old rank, maybe in another district, in not too distant a time. It never changes - it's been like this for decades.