Acid Attacks On the Rise So Far This Year

Two acid attacks in Phnom Penh on Tuesday and another in Sihanoukville on Monday have raised the number of such at­tacks reported so far this year to five, officials said.

Nine people were victims of the attacks, one of whom, a 3-year-old girl, died Jan 16.

“The death toll may yet rise,” Cambodian Acid Survivors Char­ity program manager Nora Lind­strom wrote by e-mail.

“And this is only the ones that we are aware of,” she added.

Police said a 34-year-old woman was driving her two children on her motorbike Tuesday at 5:30 pm in Phnom Penh’s Mean­chey district when an unknown perpetrator—perhaps two, according to witnesses—approached the bike and threw acid on them.

Men Heng Tith, Stung Mean­chey commune police chief, said that Khiev Chenda and her daughter, 3, and son, 10, were doused with about two liters of a very corrosive type of acid while they were headed to the Stung Meanchey garbage dump to visit a friend.

Police found an empty jar at the scene of the crime in Trea village, which they think was used to store the acid prior to the attack, he said.

“This is the first acid attack in my commune, and we have no clear information dealing with the mo­tive,” he said, adding that villagers claim to have seen Khiev Chenda shake her clothes after the attack and complain of “being hot.”

“Such activity is a serious crime and so violent that we cannot forgive the perpetrators,” he added.

Where the three victims are receiving medical attention could not be confirmed Wednesday.

In a separate attack on Tues­day, also in Phnom Penh, Hang Sophal, 51, threw acid on her husband, 50-year-old Khat Cham­roeun, in Tuol Kok district, according to Boeng Kak I commune police chief Sin Bunry.

The attack occurred at 7:30 am while the victim was sleeping. He is currently receiving treatment at Calmette hospital where a doctor, who declined to be named, said the victim has burns on 30 to 40 percent of his body, but that they are relatively minor.

“The motive of the incident is dealing with jealousy, and it is also the first acid attack to happen in my commune,” Sin Bunry said. “The wife fled the scene after dousing acid on the victim, otherwise I would have handcuffed her for committing such a brutal crime.”

Lindstrom at CASC said that the third attack involves a 59-year-old Sihanoukville woman who was doused with acid while napping at a friend’s house on Feb 4, but that few details about the case were available Wednesday.

Lindstrom said she couldn’t speculate as to the sudden spike in cases of acid violence for far this year, but that each attack has seemed to stem from a personal dispute.



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