Couple Doused With Acid in Kompong Cham

A man and a woman were doused with strong acid on Monday, causing severe burns to the man’s face and woman’s body, as they watched television together in Kompong Cham province, police said Tuesday.

Sen Srey Roth, 23, and her 32-year-old boyfriend, Long Bun­thoeun, were at Ms. Srey Roth’s house in Memot district’s Choam Kravien commune when Chea Theng, 23, entered the room where they were lying together at about 7 p.m. and poured a container of industrial acid used to harden rubber over the couple, said Kcheay Thmey village chief Keo Va.

“They were lying in a hammock when the suspect threw the acid. It went on the girl’s body, but Mr. Bunthoeun’s face was doused and he sustained burns to his eyes, nose, neck and chest,” Mr. Va said, adding that it was too early to tell whether Mr. Bunthoeun would lose his eyesight.

Both victims are currently receiving treatment for their injuries at Kompong Cham provincial hospital.

Ms. Srey Roth was able to identify the attacker because the lights in the house were on, Mr. Va said.

“Chea Theng used to be in a relationship with Ms. Srey Roth, but they broke up last year. He warned her after they broke up not to have a relationship with another man,” he said.

Kompong Cham police chief Chhay Kimson confirmed the suspect’s identity as Mr. Theng and said that police had not yet made any arrests.

“We are working on it,” he said.

In December 2011, Cambodia ratified a new acid law in an at­tempt to stem the scourge of acid attacks in the country.

The first person to be jailed under the new law was 51-year-old Be Soeun, who in January was handed the maximum possible sentence of five years by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court for dousing his 32-year-old former wife with battery acid, blinding her in one eye and leaving her with horrific burns to her face, chest and back.

Rights groups at the time hailed the verdict and professed hope that it would act as a deterrent and a warning to people that the government would no longer tolerate acid crimes.

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