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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Assault victim speaks out

Assault victim speaks out

THE victim of a suspected acid attack has urged authorities to bring his assailant to justice.Hor Tin, 23, said he has not been able to return to work since he was doused with a corrosive liquid in an attack in Prampi Makara district last week.

“I have suffered a great deal,” Hor Tin said. “I worry that the attackers will go free because so many offenders of acid attacks have never been arrested or convicted at all.”

Hor Tin said he was attacked after a spat over a parking sign last Monday. But his assailant, 41-year-old dentist Lim Soma, was later released by police.

The Post was unable to reach court or police officials for comment, but the district’s governor, Soam Sovann, said last week that authorities have urged the two parties to work out monetary compensation outside the legal system.

There is some disagreement over what liquid was used in the attack. Hor Tin and his employer – who said Hor Tin was the unintended victim in an attack that stemmed from a long-simmering feud between families – as well as Soam Sovann have all described the substance as acid, but Lim Soma said it was teeth whitener.

“The liquid that I poured over him is the water you use to make your teeth look white,” she said in an interview last week. “It is not acid.”

The altercation follows a string of acid attacks in December: Two teenage sisters in Phnom Penh were seriously injured when assailants on a motorbike poured acid on them; Hang Srey Leak, a 16-year-old TV talent show winner, was scarred after an attack; and four women who worked in a karaoke bar were also attacked. Authorities have made arrests in all but the first case.

Also, at least two other December attacks failed to receive media attention, according to the Cambodian Acid Survivors Charity (CASC). This brings December’s tally to at least five – almost as many as for the rest of 2009, according to the group.

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