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Filipino cyclists injured in hit-and-run incident in Kuwait

By NICK GARCIA Published May 29, 2023 11:44 am

Several Filipino cyclists from Kuwait figured in a hit-and-run incident that left them injured, including two in critical condition and one in a coma.

The Kuwait Times reported that 15 members of Bike Group Kuwait, a cycling group comprising mostly Filipinos, were struck by a car on Arabian Gulf Road on May 26. One of the victims recalled the car "driving recklessly" as it hit them from behind. Eyewitnesses also said two "very young" people were inside, driving "as if they were playing."

The injured cyclists—who also include Indian nationals, according to Khaleej Times—were taken to two different hospitals. Nine of the 11 cyclists who were admitted have already been discharged.

The driver has surrendered to authorities while the investigation of the case is still ongoing.

In an interview on CNN Philippines on Monday, May 29, Department of Foreign Affairs Usec. Eduardo de Vega said the Kuwaiti government is shouldering all hospital expenses. The Philippine government is also in touch with them should the Filipino cyclists need further financial assistance, he added.

De Vega said the country's embassy lawyers are monitoring the case, especially with assumptions that the hit-and-run incident might be intentional. The DFA previously said it's "premature to conclude that the perpetrator was targeting a specific group of nationals.”

"It is not a hate crime against Filipinos. That's not what it looks like," De Vega told the media outlet.

He cited long-standing concerns in Kuwait regarding the lack of bike lanes, and that there have been cases of cycling-related injuries in the past.

Still, De Vega said authorities are checking all the evidence to see if the incident will constitute not just a simple traffic misdemeanor case but felony.

The Filipinos may also demand compensation for damages from the driver, he said.