Although this term is supposed to apply to the U. S. in this case I guess it only applies to this country. The press reported a recent incident that really makes your hair stand up on end.
A senior provincial police officer was speeding along a highway in a full-size SUV at considerable speed. He hit a light motorbike with 3 people on it seriously wounding them. Local police came to the scene trying to investigate. The police officer told them to wait until he had changed his tire as it was obviously damaged because of the collision. He had also given the police a business card with his name. But to the local police’s surprise when he was finished he just got into his SUV and sped away. The injured motorbike riders were taken to the main hospital in Phnom Penh, where all three had to have one leg above the knee amputated. A short while later one of them succumbed to his injuries and died.
Now the local police instead of pursuing this right away just said they will go after the driver and arrest him. One would expect them to act immediately. After all, this has become a crime the minute he left the scene of the accident – a slight variation of a classical hit-and-run. But here comes the clincher: they will wait until after the Khmer New Year celebrations from Apr. 14 to 16.
How dumb can the police be? Sure, it was a fellow police officer but only in Cambodia can a thing like this happen. He was of a higher rank so they first kow-towed to him, and then let them repair his car and gave him an opportunity to flee. To add insult to injury they would then let him celebrate New Year first before they would come and arrest him. So clearly, these celebrations are more important than the life of people and giving them justice. This is an intolerable disgrace.
Something is very wrong in Cambodia. It is all too apparent that the higher-ups can break the law with impunity. One almost expects this in a country like this. Wherever you look in the world, it is always the developing countries where lawlessness and corruption are rampant. Obviously, the attitude and behavior of the so-called elite and political leadership has influenced the entire administrative and executive body of the country. I had always been inclined to think that over time the development of the country would also translate into a more just system, in which the concept of rule of law and intellectual maturity would eventually take hold. Looking back about 8 years I can’t help but come to a different conclusion. I am getting the feeling the country is on a downward slope as far as personal characters go. The attitude towards traffic rules and accidents is but one sign of this. Progress is only achieved in material ways, and actually only for a very small section of the people. It may be an over-simplification but that perceived degradation might be caused by the prevalent impunity with which the powers-that-be commit transgressions of the law and with the general population thinking why should I care when nobody else does.
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