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Acid attack verdict upheld

Mon Ton, 33, who was found guilty of murder in 2009, is escorted by police into the Appeal Court in Phnom Penh
Mon Ton, 33, who was found guilty of murder in 2009, is escorted by police into the Appeal Court in Phnom Penh yesterday. LIENG SARITH Lieng Sarith

Acid attack verdict upheld

The Court of Appeal yesterday upheld the sentence of a man found guilty of murdering a woman and her three-year-old granddaughter in a violent January 2008 acid attack in Kampot province.

Mon Ton, 33, is serving a 16-year prison sentence for his involvement in the gruesome attack that killed Thom Saroeun 46, and her granddaughter, Thai Srey Thim, in Angkor Chey district’s Dambaeuk Khpous commune almost six years ago.

Ton was convicted by Kampot Provincial Court one year later, while two others still on the run – Mao Yan, described as the “mastermind”, and Chok Heng – were convicted in absentia and sentenced to 18 years and 16 years, respectively.

The attack was allegedly ordered by Yan, Ton’s mother, after she realised her husband was engaging in an extramarital affair with Saroeun.

According to the court’s conviction, Ton and Heng came to Saroeun’s home on the night of January 16, 2008, and splashed acid on her and her granddaughter.

Saroeun and her granddaughter later died at the provincial hospital.

“The Appeal Court accepted your [appeal of the provincial court’s ruling] but decided to uphold the verdict, and if you do not agree with the verdict, you can forward the case procedurally,” Sophal said during the court session yesterday.

During the hearing, Ton denied any involvement in the crime.

Cambodian Acid Survivors Charity (CASC) project manager Erin Bourgois, speaking to the Post in September during a delay in the appeal process, said their only hope was for justice for the victim’s family, particularly for Sat Kunthea – Saroeun’s son and Srey Thim’s father – who was also injured in the 2008 the attack.

“Based on the premeditated nature of the attack, the deaths of Thom Saroeun and her granddaughter and the physical, psychological and social implications for Sat Kunthea; we are confident that the sentence delivered in 2009 by the Kampot Provincial Court will be upheld,” Bourgois said in an email on September 20.

Neither CASC representatives nor the accused and his legal defence could be reached for comment yesterday.

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