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Acid victim’s eyes are damaged

Acid victim’s eyes are damaged

The victim of an acid attack a little more than two weeks ago in Banteay Meanchey’s Sisophon town was admitted to Phnom Penh’s Children’s Surgical Centre on Wednesday for treatment of burns spanning 40 per cent of his body.

In what was the first recorded attack this year, Hak Ay, 41, was allegedly assaulted on April 22 by his wife, Tor Rachany, 26, after he threatened to divorce her during an argument, according to authorities.

Despite the severity of the burns, which may have caused permanent damage to his eyes, Ay is in stable condition, said Erin Bourgois, program manager at the Cambodian Acid Survivors Charity (CASC).

“Most people don’t survive from such extensive burns, but because his burns are mainly second degree we’re able to treat him,” Bourgois said, adding that Ay underwent a three-hour operation on Thursday, and was scheduled for more surgery yesterday.

“An ophthalmologist has already looked at his eyes but it takes time for the cells to replenish. Right now we’re making sure they can open and close properly,” she added.

On average, one in four victims treated through CASC is partially or fully blind. The Children’s Surgical Centre provides free surgical and post-operative care for survivors thanks to a partnership with the charity.

Rachany remains in pre-trial detention, according to Loy Chantra, a Banteay Meanchey provincial judge. She is charged with intentional violent use of concentrated acid, which can carry a sentence of five years. A court date has yet to be set.

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