A 26-year-old man was badly burned by acid in Kampong Cham province’s Memot district on Tuesday, in an accident that health workers say highlighted the need for the new acid law to be implemented in its entirety.
Luch Thun had bought acid from a market and brought it to his rubber farm, storing the acid in a plastic jar on the back of his motorcycle, Cambodian Acid Survivors Charity project manager Ziad Samman said.
He slipped, causing the plastic jar to break and acid to douse his face and body.
Luch Thun is now at Phnom Penh’s Kossamak Hospital.
Samman said the incident showed the importance of clear legislation that regulated how acid was handled.
“This latest incident is the direct result of how acid is transported and stored; it only shows how important it is to …enforce legislation to prevent avoidable accidents,” he said.
An acid law, passed in December, is meant to regulate access to acid and more strictly punish perpetrators of acid attacks.
But a sub-decree that governs the usage of acid, including its transportation, has not been issued.
Ouk Kimlek, under-secretary of state of the Interior Ministry, said the sub-decree had been completed, but not signed.
“We have already created the sub-decree for using the acid law, and we are keeping it at the Ministry of Interior for checking before we send it to Prime Minister Hun Sen to be signed,” Ouk Kimlek said, adding that he was unsure when this would occur.
Three acid attacks have occurred since the law was passed, resulting in one death, but no arrests have been made in any of the cases.
Samman said that overall, the law had yet to be proved, especially as none of the attack cases had gone to court.
“The implementation, including the [sub decree] is going to be very important, which means that when perpetrators have been charged, they need to be held accountable.”