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Court upholds acid verdict

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Vong Sina sheds tears of relief at the Appeal Court in Phnom Penh yesterday.

Phnom Penh’s Appeal Court upheld a guilty verdict yesterday against a wedding shop owner who attacked four women with acid outside a Takeo province karaoke bar in 2009.

Om Chhi was sentenced by Takeo provincial court last May to four years in prison for her role in dousing four women with acid, all of whom required medical treatment in the capital. Om Chhi was charged with intentionally causing bodily harm, shortly after the incident occurred in December 2009.

Vong Sina, one of the victims, cried after the judge’s ruling.

“I am really happy the court decided to uphold the sentence and detain the perpetrator in prison,” she said. “The court really gave justice to the victims.”

Four women – aged between 22 and 30 at the time of the incident – were injured in the attack outside of Srey Mach Karaoke house in Kirivong district. Three of the women sustained injuries to their heads, hands, legs and faces, while another woman suffered minor injuries.

Shortly after her arrest, Om Chhi admitted to the crime, saying she was angry with the victims for making her brother-in-law “crazy” about the women, causing daily arguments between her brother-in-law and her sister.

Horng Lairapo, medical and legal manager for the Cambodian Acid Survivors Charity, said yesterday that the sentence was too light considering the crime.

“The perpetrator can do that again to other people when she leaves prison, because she said in front of the court that she knew what she did was wrong, but she still did it,” he said.

CASC has recorded three cases of acid attacks so far this year, two of which were carried out against women. Nineteen acid attacks, affecting 40 victims, were recorded in Cambodia last year.

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