A 20-year-old security guard at a Phnom Penh garment factory yesterday became the Kingdom’s first acid attack victim this year.
According to Por Sen Chey district police, Meas Vanny was walking from her rental room to the Ho Hsin Tai factory in Choam Chao commune at 6:15am yesterday when a woman rode up on a motorbike and threw the acid.
“After throwing acid on her, the perpetrator immediately escaped by riding a motorbike away from the scene,” district police chief Khim Sarann said.
Police have detained the wife of a security guard that worked at the factory alongside Vanny for questioning, he said, after she was identified by the victim. He declined to name the suspect.
Sarann said that his investigation had determined the incident was related to a love triangle, with Vanny having been romantically involved with her male colleague.
She suffered serious burns to her head and back, and was receiving treatment at Calmette Hospital yesterday.
Pong Sarith, a Choam Chao commune police officer, said that Vanny told authorities that the perpetrator had pulled up beside her and asked her where she worked. “When she answered that she worked as a security guard at the Ho Hsin Tai factory, the suspect threw the acid on her head and body,” he said.
Vanny has worked at the factory since 2013. Ho Hsin Tai could not be reached for comment.
The Children’s Surgical Center, which offers free surgical care to acid burn survivors, said it was the first acid attack of 2015.
According to the Cambodian Acid Survivors Charity (CASC), there were five attacks last year, up from three in 2013.
Penalties for acid attacks were increased in 2011. The government released a sub-decree regulating the sale of strong acid in 2013, though it is poorly implemented.
Still, CASC credits this legislation with the annual number of victims of such attacks having decreased from dozens five years ago to single digits today.