TWO women suspected of plotting an acid attack in Phnom Penh’s Daun Penh district last week have been released on bail, though they are still being investigated on assault charges, a deputy prosecutor at Phnom Penh Municipal Court said Sunday.
Military police arrested Nou Sosineth, 35, and Roeun Mom, 20, on Tuesday, and they were charged with assault on Friday, Heang Sopheak said.
He added that there was insufficient evidence to charge the women – who were in possession of more than a litre of acid at the time of their arrest – in connection with an acid attack plot, despite the fact that one of them reportedly told a military police official last week that they had intended to douse a young woman with acid.
“We have a reason to release the suspects on bail,” Heang Sopheak said. “The suspect did not yet douse the victim, and they have four small children to support, so I discussed the matter with the prosecutor and we decided to release them on bail.”
Thorng Piset, a district military police commander, said last week that Nou Sosineth confessed to planning the attack because she believed the target, a 20-year-old student, was having an affair with her husband.
Nou Sosineth and Roeun Mom began beating the student on Tuesday evening while she was walking alone in Chaktomuk commune. Passersby alerted police after overhearing one of the women order the other to “please bring me acid to pour on her”, Thorng Piset said.
Heang Sopheak said that the women had since determined that the student was “the wrong person”.
“The suspects beat the victim by using shoes, but a bit later the suspects knew that they had beaten the wrong person and said sorry to the victim,” he said, adding that they had also agreed to pay her US$1,500 in compensation.
Chhun Sophea, programme manager for the Cambodian Acid Survivors Charity, said Sunday that the decision to release the two suspects on bail could send the message that laws in Cambodia are “too loose”.