THREE siblings suffered slight injuries when they were attacked with acid while riding on a motorbike to work in Boeung Keng Kang Market early Sunday morning, police said.
Vong Sophon, the deputy police chief of Chamkarmon district’s Boeung Trabek commune, where the attack occurred, said police believed two assailants rode up alongside the group on Mao Tse Tung Boulevard at around 5:30am.
Chey Sovannarith, 28, and his younger sister, 22-year-old Chey Srey Phat, both received slight burns to their eyes, he said. Their 24-year-old sister, Chey Srey Phon, received slight burns to her upper body.
“According to our interviews with the victims, they told us that while they were driving their motorbike at around 5:30am to sell beef as normal at Boeung Keng Kong Market, there was another black Honda C100 motorbike with two civilian men who threw liquid acid at them,” Vong Sophon said. “The two men are still at large.”
He said the three victims suspected that the attack was spurred by a dispute with another beef seller at the market. After having worked as vendors at the same beef stall for five years, he said, they had decided to start out on their own, a move that had angered their former employer.
“We are now investigating the crime and hunting for the acid attackers, but we primarily suspect that it is related to a dispute between the victims and the perpetrators,” he said.
The victims, he added, had been sent home on Sunday afternoon after being treated at Visal Sok Polyclinic and Ang Duong Hospital.
Phnom Penh is the second most common site of acid attacks behind Kampong Cham province, according to a study released last month by the Cambodian Acid Survivors Charity.
Chhun Sophea, the programme manager for CASC, said that the number of attacks nationwide seemed to have fallen off since April, and that her charity had taken in 15 new cases so far this year.
In response to a spate of attacks in December and January, the government formed a committee tasked with drafting legislation to curtail acid crimes.
Ouk Kimlek, an undersecretary of state at the Interior Ministry and the committee’s deputy director, said Sunday that it was scheduled to meet one more time next week before sending a final draft to the Council of Ministers.