By Kuch Naren
and James Welsh
The Cambodia Daily
Police still have no suspects in Thursday morning’s acid attack that left an 18-year-old high school student critically injured, Phnom Penh Municipal Police Chief Touch Naruth said Monday.
Touch Naruth said that the nature of the crime made it difficult to investigate.
“Our police were not immediately aware of the attack because acid attacks make no sound,” Touch Naruth said of the dousing of sulfuric acid over Kiri Chariya as she walked home on a busy street from Wat Koh High School at 11:00 am.
Police have been unable to talk to Kiri Chariya’s family because they went with her to hospital in Vietnam, he said.
“We are collecting further information and seeking witnesses who saw the attack,” he added.
Witness Bopha Meas, 42, said by telephone that she was riding by the scene at the time of the assault when she saw two male attackers racing off on their motorcycle. Bopha Meas said she tried to aid Kiri Chariya, who was screaming “please help me,” as a crowd began to gather outside the New York Hotel on Monivong Boulevard.
“I think she is 100 percent blind because her eyelids were burned to her face,” she said. Passersby tried to help the victim by dousing her with water and covering her with their shirts after the acid melted away the young student’s clothes, Bopha Meas said.
At Wat Koh High School Monday afternoon, students were fearful of talking to reporters about the attack.
A teenage girl, who only identified herself as Ny, said that now she is afraid of being attacked with acid and could not understand how such a crime could have been committed.
“We are students. We are not singers who have love affairs,” she said.