Ya Soknim, the victim of a 2008 acid attack orchestrated by a senior military police official, died yesterday morning at Phnom Penh’s Calmette Hospital due to complications from injuries sustained in the attack, according to her husband. She was 41.
On May 6, 2008, Ms Soknim was doused with acid—her head and chest severely burned, her neck temporarily paralyzed. Doctors in Vietnam removed her eye and ear in the course of treating her injuries.
Ms Soknim died at 9 am yesterday after spending a week in the hospital for treatment of her lungs and intestines, according to her husband, Oung Vibol.
“The acid attack caused my wife’s death because her internal organs were destroyed,” Mr Vibol said.
Within days of the attack on Ms Soknim, police identified former military police Deputy Chief of Staff Chea Ratha as the ringleader of the attack targeting the aunt of her estranged lover, In Solyda.
In November 2008, the court found Chea Ratha guilty of the crime, a conviction later upheld by the Supreme Court. In total, six were convicted in connection with the attack, and given jail sentences of 15 to 18 years. All those convicted remain at large.
Lieutenant General Khieu Sopheak, spokesman for the Interior Ministry, said police were still searching for Chea Ratha and the other convicted attackers.
“We are still investigating to arrest Chea Ratha and the arrest warrant still exists,” he said.
“This case is not finished.”