The Kampong Speu Provincial Court yesterday moved to quell fears that three suspects had been let off the hook for their alleged role in a recent acid attack, saying while the trio were free on bail, they will still face trial.
Deputy prosecutor Ou Phath confirmed that Huy Van, Chhum Savarng and Chhum Savuth had recently been released after their alleged victim, Pheng Sreyla, withdrew her police complaint.
More than a month on, the suspected mastermind of the January 10 attack, Chhum Savun – the wife of Sreyla’s lover, Choeum Vuthy – is still at large.
Savun’s mother, Huy Van, and siblings, Savarng and Savuth, were released on bail on February 14. “The victim agreed to withdraw the complaint. The three suspects are released but we do not drop the charges – do not confuse this,” Phath said.
“They are only outside detention to wait for the trial,” though a trial date had not yet been determined, he added.
Khut Sophal, Samrong Tong district police chief, questioned the court’s move.
“I don’t know why the court decided to release the three suspects in this case outside detention, because if there is an acid attack, they should not be out on bail,” he said. “Until now, our police officials are still trying to find and arrest the mastermind [Savun] of this acid attack.”
The victim, Sreyla, said she had seen Savun on February 11. “I saw her come back home. But no police official arrested her,” she said.
She withdrew her complaint after she received $4,000 in compensation for being doused in battery acid. “I need this amount because I have more than $1,000 in debt that I borrowed for treatment to my eyes and my face,” she said.