Family Seeks Compensation

Phnom Penh Post 01-Dec-2014

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People stand around a hole where fireworks exploded in the capital’s Chroy Changvar district in October, killing one person and injuring seven others. 

The father of a man killed during a government-run fireworks display in October has sent letters to the King and two government institutions demanding compensation for his loss.

Van Na Kry, 51, lost his son, Na Kry Daro, 22, on October 29 when a fireworks canister exploded, sending debris flying into a crowd of onlookers during festivities marking the 10th anniversary of King Norodom Sihamoni’s coronation.

The incident, which authorities called an accident, occurred near the Sokha Hotel, across the water from the Royal Palace.

Na Kry said yesterday that he sent letters last week to the King, the National Assembly and the Ministry of Defence – whose officers had been operating the fireworks display – explaining that the family had been relying on Daro to provide for them well into the future. He also intends to send a letter to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s Cabinet.

“The King and government should pay proper compensation to us since our family’s future depended on him,” he said, adding that his son had studied commerce and English at university. “They sold their property to support his study – but now he has died like this.”

Na Kry said he has yet to receive a response to the letters.

In the days after the tragedy, Phnom Penh Deputy Governor Chreang Sophan said the premier and Governor Pa Socheatvong had donated money to others injured by the fireworks explosion. He added that Daro’s family would also receive some kind of cash payment but did not specify how much or whether it classified as formal compensation.

Officials from the institutions being asked for compensation could not be reached or declined to comment yesterday.

Following the Koh Pich stampede that claimed the lives of 353 people during the annual Water Festival in 2010, the King and the government gave money to injured victims and families of the deceased.

“Normally, the prime minister and his wife always help victims of these kinds of tragedy,” Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said.