Police in Kampong Cham province are searching for a man who allegedly attacked a couple with acid on Monday night in Memot district, the third case of the year.
Den Rithy, Memot district’s Choam Kravien commune police chief, said yesterday that the 32-year-old male victim was seriously burned on his face and some parts of the body, but he can still walk and speak. His partner, who is 23 years old, sustained slight burns on her back, he said.
Rithy believes the suspect, Chea Theng, 23, was a former boyfriend of the woman and his anger may have been a reaction to her new relationship.
According to Rithy, Theng, carrying acid in a plastic bowl, crept up to the house of the couple and flung the contents of the bowl through a window, hitting the two while they lounged in a hammock.
The victims were sent to the health clinic and then moved to the provincial hospital, he added.
“We first concluded that this is a love triangle, because the suspect loved the victim, but the victim lived with another man, causing the suspect to get angry.”
Rithy added that Ministry of Interior officials went down to the area several months ago as part of an education campaign about the new acid law.
An amendment to the law passed in January but taking effect in July regulates the sale, purchase and transportation of “strong acid”, or that which has a pH level of three or lower. Article 7 says a
purchaser has to be at least 18 years of age, have proper identification, state the purpose for using acid and keep an invoice on hand for the authorities.
It remains to be seen how the new rules will play out in Kampong Cham, where the prevalence of rubber plantations using acid in the manufacturing process means the chemical is not difficult to purchase.
Keo Va, Kcheay Thmey village chief, said yesterday that villagers on the plant-ations buy acid all the time with little official fuss.