Sophea* froze when the footage of Cambodian cosmetics entrepreneur Deth Malina being battered by her then-husband flashed up on social media. “It was difficult to watch,” the mother-of-three, 36, recalled. “It reminded me of my home life and what I had to escape.”
On March 15, Deth published on Facebook an hour-long compilation of clips that showed displays of violence that have torn the nation in half. In one scene, property tycoon Duong Chhay, 31, lunges across his child to beat Deth, also 31. He then puts her in a headlock and pulls her away. In others, he can be seen dragging her by the hair and hitting her repeatedly.
The footage is said to have been recorded at the couple’s home at the end of 2020, before they divorced. Within 24 hours, the video went viral with more than two million views, but was promptly taken down. The next day on Facebook Live, property tycoon Duong claimed his ex-wife had provoked him. This prompted a wave of sympathy from his followers.