Acid Attack Suspect Claims Victim of Revenge Conspiracy

Chea Ratha, the senior military police official who is wanted by Interpol for her alleged involvement in an acid attack in Phnom Penh in May, contacted a reporter Wednes­day to proclaim her innocence, and ac­cused her alleged victim of or­chestrating a complex conspiracy against her.

Telephoning from an undisclosed foreign location, Chea Ratha said the family of her alleged victim, Ya Soknim, 35, has created a conspiracy of lies, which has destroyed her reputation and shuttered her two nightclub businesses in Phnom Penh.

Chea Ratha also claimed that Ya Soknim—who is the aunt of the young woman, In Solyda, with whom Chea Ratha allegedly had an affair—was not badly in­jured in the acid attack and is currently living normally in Phnom Penh.

“My business closed down and now I owe Canadia Bank $2 million that I borrowed to run my business,” Chea Ratha said.

“I lost everything, including my position as National Military Police Deputy Chief of Staff. Nowadays I stay abroad, alone in a pagoda, because the [Interpol] red notice means that I can’t come back to Cambodia to defend myself in a legal court case,” she said.

“In Solyda’s family created this to destroy my future and my business. It is revenge,” she added.

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court issued an arrest warrant for Chea Ratha on May 14 for her al­leg­ed involvement in the May 6 at­tack. On June 17, Interpol posted a high alert “red notice” for the fugitive Chea Ratha who, according to In­­terpol’s Web site, is wanted for “crimes against life and health,” and was last reported to have been in China.

Keo Vannthan, director of Cam­bodia’s Interpol office, said the red notice for Chea Ratha would stand until she is arrested. Her appeal through the media, he said, could “not eliminate” her name from the international police agency’s most-wanted list.

In Yanna, a nephew of Ya Sok­nim, said Wednesday that his aunt is still receiving treatment in Vietnam for injuries sustained in the May acid attack.

He strongly refuted Chea Ratha’s claims that his aunt was not badly hurt in the attack.

“I am very sorrowful over my aunt’s suffering,” he said.

Municipal Court Investigating Judge Suong Samnang said Wed­nesday that the case against Chea Ratha is still being investigated, and declined to comment further.



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