The wife of the first person to die from an acid attack this year had appealed to the rights group Adhoc for help in tracking down her husband’s murderer, an Adhoc investigator said yesterday.
Kampong Cham provincial Adhoc investigation officer An Phen said Chheng Mao, 50, had sent him a letter last week requesting the NGO’s aid.
“Chheng Mao did not tell me who she suspects in this case, but she asked us [Adhoc] to intervene to investigate,” An Phen said, adding that he would send an initial report to Adhoc’s head office this week.
Chheng Mao’s husband, Sim Yi, 42, and his girlfriend, Srei Leak, 19, were doused with acid on March 9 in Kampong Cham province’s Memot district.
Sim Yi died the same day.
District police initially said Sim Yi’s fourth wife, Chheng Mao, had attacked the couple when her husband took the younger woman home for an affair, but the commune police chief has since discounted that version of events.
Sim Yi’s is the first acid-related death since the new Acid Law, which was designed to better control access to acid and more strictly punish perpetrators of attacks, was passed in December.
Provincial police and commune police who are responsible for the investigations could not be contacted yesterday.
Maroan village chief Seang Heng told the Post no suspects had been arrested. Provincial police previously said they had identified a suspect – a female member of the family.
Meanwhile, Chan Savuth, deputy police chief of Phnom Penh’s Russei Keo district, said he was still waiting for court officials to issue an arrest warrant for a suspect in the year’s first acid attack, which took place against a garment factory worker in January.
“I submitted the documents regarding the suspect, and we have enough evidence to accuse the suspect, but until now we have not received the arrest warrant,” Chan Savuth said.
Cambodian Acid Survivors Charity project manager Ziad Samman said the arrest of perpetrators will set survivors’ minds at ease and pave the way for enforcement of the new law.
“If they [authorities] are unable to identify and hold perpetrators accountable, it will be a sad sign for the future of the implementation of the legislation,” he said.