The suspect in an acid attack that targeted a couple last month in Kampong Cham province’s Memot district is still on the loose, and has been using the time to allegedly taunt by phone one of the victims – his ex-wife – about the damage he inflicted.
“He said to me that I love a disabled husband . . . and that no one can arrest him,” Sen Srey Roth, 23, said.
Srey Roth alleges that the man behind the April 8 attack is 23-year-old Chea Theng, whom she divorced before marrying Long Bunthoeun, 32, about a year ago. Police previously told the Post that Theng was a former boyfriend, not husband, of Srey Roth.
Wracked with jealousy over his lost love, Theng allegedly tossed acid through an open window of the house inhabited by the couple, hitting them while they lounged in a hammock.
Bunthoeun bore the brunt of the attack, suffering serious burns to his face, chest and parts of his back, while the acid wrought only slight burns on Srey Roth’s back.
After considering seeking medical care in Vietnam, Bunthoeun and Srey Roth were able to reach the Cambodian Acid Survivors Charity (CASC), which organised assistance through the Children’s Surgical Centre in Phnom Penh, the nonprofit hospital where many acid attack survivors seek treatment.
Erin Bourgois, a project manager with CASC, said yesterday that Bunthoeun had burns on 15 per cent of his body. Scars from acid burns tend to contract, needing to be cut and “released” so that the skin is not pulled tightly together. Habitual cleaning is also required to ward off infection.
“He needed surgery, and he might need another surgery next week,” Bourgois said. “Once he finishes his medical treatment, we’re hoping he comes to the survivor meeting in June.”
Den Rithy, Choam Kravien commune police chief, said yesterday that the police are still tracking the suspect and believe they are close to making an arrest.
Srey Roth said the suspect has harassed her with several calls following the attack.
“I told my father, and he informed to the police officials to investigate and arrest that bad person. I want to appeal to the police to arrest him as soon as possible,” Srey Roth said. “We are living in fear and are hurting. We don’t need compensation from him, but we need justice and want him put in jail.”
Additional reporting by Joe Freeman