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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Two more acid attacks reported as devastating trend continues

Two more acid attacks reported as devastating trend continues

A 25-YEAR-OLD man was doused with acid by his angry wife in Kampong Cham province on Saturday, and a former karaoke girl had a litre of acid poured on her by two men who broke into her house last week, bringing the total number of recorded acid attacks for the month to six, a staffer at the Cambodian Acid Survivors Charity said Sunday.

The unrelated attacks in Kampong Cham’s Ponhea Krek district and Phnom Penh’s Russey Keo district left two victims in hospital with serious injuries. Both cases are being investigated, but no suspects have been arrested, police said.

Prak Bun Nun, Ponhea Krek district police chief, said Ol Kosal, 21, poured acid on her 25-year-old husband, Yoeun Soeun, after he slapped her because she wouldn’t give him 100,000 riels (around US$25) to visit the village theatre.

After hitting his wife, Yoeun Soeun left his house and did not return until midnight on Saturday, at which point Ol Kosal poured the acid over his face and the left side of his body, Prak Bun Nun said.

“The victim’s wife and 2-year-old daughter escaped after she doused her husband in acid,” Prak Bun Nun said, adding that police are planning to question Ol Kosal even though Yoeun Soeun has asked them not to arrest her.

Dr Meas Chea, director of the Kampong Cham referral hospital that is treating Yoeun Soeun, said the man was not the first acid attack survivor to be treated in the hospital, but that such cases are rare.

“Wounds caused by acid are difficult to cure because it looks like a burn, but it is rotten underneath,” he said.

Ly Rosyami, deputy governor of Russey Keo district, said Sunday that former karaoke girl Sem Chanthy, 27, was attacked on Wednesday when two men rode a motorbike into her house and poured about a litre of acid on her.

She said police were investigating the case, and that there were multiple suspects. “It is maybe because of rancour between the victim and her lovers, because she was in touch with many men, so it is difficult to arrest the suspect because we don’t know all those men’s identities,” she said.

The victim had been living with a man who described himself as her husband, though they are not married. “I suspect that the person who doused my wife in acid is her former husband,” said the man, who asked not to be named. “Her [former] husband threatened her to stop contacting me anymore – that if she did not stop, something would happen to her.”

He said acid was poured on the victim’s face, chest and hand.

Hout Sophorn, a social worker at CASC, said Sunday that although the number of recorded acid attacks decreased from 33 in 2008 to 12 in 2009, there has been a recent surge in cases, with five recorded in December and six in January.

“I think it is good if the government creates a law to control acid use because acid is a cruel weapon to kill people, and acid-selling seems anarchic at the market,” she said.

Hout Sophorn added that a litre of acid costs around 4,000 riels (US$1). “It is easy for the buyers because there is no law to control acid-selling and -buying in Cambodia – that is different in other countries.”



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