A jealous ex-husband doused himself and his ex-wife with a liter of gasoline and set them both on fire in Kandal province’s Sa’ang district Saturday, police said Monday.
Keo Sak, 25, attacked his former wife, Mab Srey Nhib, 20, after seeing another man escort her to a pagoda in Kompong Trea village to celebrate Pchum Ben, said So Saream, police chief for Sa’ang Phnom commune.
Keo Sak hid in front of Mab Srey Nhib’s home with a plastic bottle of gasoline he had bought from a neighbor, So Saream said. When he saw his ex-wife approaching, Keo Sak “ran to [force] his wife to the ground and doused gasoline on himself and [Mab Srey Nhib] and used a lighter to burn them both,” So Saream said.
Both sustained serious burn injuries and are being treated at a health center in the district, he added.
So Saream said that the couple was not legally divorced, but that commune authorities had annulled their marriage earlier this year and that the two had lived apart for months. He added that the pair have an 8-month-old son who lives with Mab Srey Nhib.
Deputy Provincial Police Chief Kim Rithy said police have accused Keo Sak of attempted intentional killing though he has not yet been charged.
Police will collect evidence before submitting a report to the provincial court, he said, adding that Keo Sak will be arrested after he has recovered. “The suspect is burned badly and he cannot even walk,” he said.
The case is not the first of its kind this year.
On July 6, a woman in Kompong Chhnang province burned to death after her lover tied himself to her in a kerosene-soaked krama and set them both on fire, police said at the time. The motive for the attack remains unclear. After Chut Savoeurn, 33, died, Nhiev Mao fled the provincial hospital where he was being treated. Nhiev Mao’s whereabouts remain unknown, said Soum Chankea, provincial coordinator for local rights group Adhoc.