SINCE the acid attack on 17-year-old Tath Marina allegedly by the wife of the
Secretary of State at the Council Ministers, Svay Sitha, and his bodyguards, the
authorities have pledged to crack down on acid sales in an effort to prevent
However a survey by the human rights group Licadho of
the Khmer press since Marina's attack has revealed that attacks with acid are
still prevalent and the results devastating.
Since the December attack on
Tath Marina there have been more than 20 similar incidents reported in the
press. None of the attacks has so far ended in prosecution and only one arrest
Most of the victims have suffered severe injuries. A week
after the Tath Marina attack a 30-year-old man in Phnom Penh was blinded by his
About the same time Srey Pov, 17, had acid thrown in her face by
her lover's wife. A week later Lim Mey, 26, was blinded and disfigured by her
husband in a drunken rage in Toul Kork. In January this year Chen Sophy, 18, was
disfigured when leaving a restaurant where she worked; the attacker was the wife
of a man she had once had a relationship with.
Occasionally the attacks
prove fatal. Doung Chanmakara, 17, went off to meet friends on New Year's Day.
He was kidnapped and a $50,000 ransom was demanded. The family could not raise
the money. When his body was later found his head had been destroyed with
Sours Im, a 34-year-old farmer, also died from injuries in an acid
attack. He was known to be violent towards his wife and her family. In
retaliation his wife purchased one liter of acid for 1000 riel and poured it
over him when he was lying down. He was found dead in his house.
not only perceived wrongdoers who are attacked; even a family association is
enough in some cases. Two brothers, Dang Da, 12, and Dang Dy, 10, were attacked
along with their 33-year-old mother, Long Chanthol, by their father's first wife
in a fit of jealousy. Chanthol died from her injuries, Da suffered serious burns
to his face, chest and back while Dy was less seriously injured suffering burns
to the side of his head.
Jealousy was an overwhelming motive in the
attacks. A young couple, Kim Ly, 26, and Chanda Vy, 22, had been engaged for
only seven days when they had acid thrown at them as they left a house in
central Phnom Penh by a man riding past on a motorcycle. It was reported that
the perpetrator was unhappy that Chanda had not accepted his advances. Chanda
suffered extensive injuries to her entire face and left leg.
another common theme. Chourm Heang, female, 18, was attacked by a fellow
prostitute over who would service a client at the brothel they worked at. She
suffered injuries to her right eye and face. This was the only case in which an
arrest was made.
One other case involved the authorities but did not end
in arrest. Thong Bun Nath, 39, was doused with acid by her former husband after
he went to his wife's house, (a brothel) to try to obtain some of the $10,000
she had received for a land sale.
He told police she refused his request
and tried to throw a bucket of acid at him but instead tipped it on herself when
he pushed her away to try to protect himself. He told police he would provide
her some assistance if she withdrew the complaint.
desperation was another motive for attacks.
Koch Pich, 53, was blinded and
his son Seng Bunthan, 20, slightly injured after his pregnant 24-year-old
step-daughter reacted to a long history of beatings, torture and rape attempts
by pouring acid on him as he slept underneath his house near his son.