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Acid attack suspect at large

POLICE said yesterday that they are still searching for a factory worker suspected of injuring four people in an acid attack in Phnom Penh’s Dangkor district on Wednesday morning.

One woman was critically injured and three others suffered minor burns in the attack outside Chantex garment factory, in which a young man doused a female factory worker with acid outside a sugarcane juice stand, splashing three bystanders in the process.

Keo Savorn, a 23-year-old worker who was badly burned in the attack, said she had recognised the perpetrator and knew he worked in the laundry department of the factory.

Born Samath, Dangkor district police chief, said yesterday that police had identified a suspect but had been so far unable to make an arrest because the man had gone into hiding.

“We are searching for him and we already know his name, age and identity,” Born Samath said. “He is escaping and hiding from us, but we will arrest him and punish him through the law for what he did.”

He said that the investigation had been aided by cooperation from the victims, who had all filed complaints.

Keo Savorn’s father said yesterday that his daughter had been moved from Calmette Hospital, where she had been taken immediately after the attack, to the Cambodian Acid Survivors Charity, which offers victims free medical treatment and rehabilitation.

“I don’t know how long my daughter will have to stay for treatment for her injuries, but I feel better knowing that my daughter can be treated for free in the centre,” he said.

Chhun Sophea, programme manager at CASC, said yesterday that the charity had recorded 21 acid attacks involving 29 victims nationwide so far this year.

These numbers are already close to the total number of cases for 2009, when CASC recorded a total of 28 attacks involving 33 victims.
Chhun Sophea said existing laws were not strong enough to deter potential perpetrators of acid crimes.

“The law is weak, so criminals are not afraid of the law,” she said. “I want to request the government to regulate the sale of acid and push for the acid law to be passed soon in order to reduce this crime.”

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