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Alleged acid attack victim due in court

Alleged acid attack victim due in court

A young man targeted early last month in an alleged acid attack will demand US$30,000 from his attacker when he appears with his lawyer in Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Monday, the man’s employer and self-appointed “representative” said on Sunday.

The new compensation figure is three times what 22-year-old Hor Tin demanded of his attacker, Lim Soma, in out-of-court negotiations which began several days after the January 4 incident. Lim Soma’s rejection of the initial $10,000 demand compelled Hor Tin’s employer, Kea Sokheang – whose personal dispute with Lim Soma prompted the attack – to bring the compensation dispute back to court.

Proceedings in the case were delayed, however, after Kea Sokheang and Hor Tin each failed to comply with a number of summonses for questioning issued by the court in subsequent weeks, most recently on February 5.

The latest summons was issued after deputy prosecutor Ek Chheng Huot roundly rejected Kea Sokheang’s argument that his employee, Hor Tin, was unfit to appear in court himself because he was “illiterate”. On Wednesday, the deputy prosecutor said he was growing frustrated with Hor Tin’s repeated absences and that the case would be dropped if the young man did not provide the court with evidence.

Lim Soma appeared in court late last month to reiterate her claim that although she poured a liquid on Hor Tin, it was tooth whitener used in her dental practice and not acid.

Kea Soheang said, however, that on Monday the victim’s lawyer would “bring video footage and photographs taken after the attack as well as doctor’s prescriptions” in order to prove the veracity of his claim.

There were six recorded acid attacks in Cambodia last month and at least five last December, prompting government officials to reconsider legislation that would strictly regulate the sale of acid and apply stiff punishments to perpetrators of acid attacks.