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Police hunt for acid attacker

Police hunt for acid attacker

POLICE are investigating an acid attack that took place on Saturday in Kampot province, just one day after the Council of Ministers approved draft legislation intended to tackle the crime.

The victim, a 41-year-old woman from Teuk Chhou district’s Beung Touk commune, was attacked while walking with her daughter, local police chief Pong Korn said yesterday. “The victim suffered burns on the back, arm and legs and is currently undergoing treatment in Kampot Provincial Referral Hospital,” he said.

So Bunthoeun, deputy police chief of Teuk Chhou district, said authorities had yet to determine whether the attack was motivated by a personal vendetta or a dispute over a lover.

Try Chhuon, Kampot provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc, said this was the first reported acid attack this year in the province.

There were 14 people injured in 9 separate acid attacks in the first eights months of this year in Cambodia, according to the Cambodian Acid Survivors Charity.

Under the draft legislation, perpetrators of acid attacks could face life imprisonment when victims die or are seriously injured, according to Ouk Kimlek, secretary of state at the Ministry of Interior.  People who illegally sell acid or accidentally cause burns may face more lenient sentences, he said.

A statement from the Council of Ministers on Friday said that acid attacks were a “cruel and inhumane” offence.

“[This] special law … aims to control strong acid effectively, and to jointly protect social security and social safety as well as promote the health of the people,” it said.

The draft legislation was initially sent to the Council of Ministers in March. It has six chapters and 27 articles.

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