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Sixth acid attack this year

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Sim Yi, victim of a March acid attack in Kampong Cham, is treated at Preah Kosomak Hospital. He died of his injuries only hours later. Photograph: Heng Chivoan/Phnom Penh Post

A woman was violently attacked with acid late Sunday night in Phnom Penh’s Chamkarmon district, the sixth such attack since Cambodia passed the Acid Law in December.

The female victim was doused with acid, allegedly by her husband, and sent for treatment at the nearby Preah Kosomak Hospital, commune police said.

“The victim was seriously injured, and we sent her to the hospital. We arrested the suspect, and I sent him directly to the police station,” Tumnop Teuk commune police chief Mey Bunrin said, declining to name the victim or comment further about the new case.

Cambodian Acid Survivors Charity (CASC) Project Manager Ziad Samman, who has previously told the Post that the wheels of justice often turn slowly in acid cases, said yesterday that government prosecution is key .

“If we wish to address the phenomena of acid violence in Cambodia, those responsible for perpetrating such acts must be held accountable,” Samman said.

In a separate case, female acid victim Srey Leak, 19, who was seriously injured in an acid attack in March in Kampong Cham’s Memot district, said she has been summonsed as a witness by judges investigating the case, which left her married male lover dead.

This will be the second time Leak, who has been receiving treatment at CASC for her burns, has been called for questioning as part of investigations before the case is sent to trial.

“I was sleeping and then there was a woman, who I suspected was a wife of the dead man, who came and poured acid on us,” Leak recounted yesterday. “I will describe what happened to me to the court officials.”

Horng Lairapo, medical and legal manager for CASC, said that he had seen a slight decrease in the number of acid attacks in 2012, when compared to the same period in 2011.

“I expected the acid attack would go down a little bit after we had the Acid Law, but broadcasting about this new law has not yet spread over the whole country,” he said.

“Most of the suspects do not know about the law, and they do not know the injuries from acid can cause the victims to die and become permanently disabled.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Mom Kunthear at kunthear.mom@phnompenhpost.com
Bridget Di Certo at bridget.dicerto@phnompenhpost.com

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