Man Sets Fire to Wife for Feeding Children First

A 34-year-old man from Kompong Cham province’s Batheay district is at large after he doused his wife with petrol and set her on fire Sunday, causing serious injuries to her chest and legs, police said Monday.

District penal police chief Sao Sokhan said that Yorn Sna carried out the brutal attack after his wife, 30-year-old Lay Roeun, came home late and did not cook food for him first.

“Yorn Sna had been drinking heavily and was upset because his wife returned from work late and prepared food for their three children first,” Mr. Sokhan said Monday. “He poured half a liter of petrol over her and set her on fire.”

Mr. Sokhan said that the victim managed to run out of the house engulfed in flames and made it to her parent’s house nearby where her family tore off the burning clothes. “They ripped the burning clothes off her body,” Mr. Sokhan said, adding that the victim was taken to Kossamak Hospital in Phnom Penh with burns to her chest, stomach and legs.

After the attack, the husband escaped, though police said they would not arrest him, as his badly injured wife has not filed a complaint because she still needs him to pay for her medical bills.

“We chased him, but he escaped into the woods,” he said. “We will not arrest him, but on behalf of the victim, we ask him to come visit his wife and take care of his daughters,” who are aged 5, 3 and 1, Mr. Sokhan said.

“The victim appeals to him to come and visit her at the hospital because she needs his help to pay for the medical fees,” he added.

Chuon Chamrong, head of Adhoc’s women’s program, said abusive husbands often escape prosecution.

“Most of the women don’t file legal complaints against their husbands because they depend on their husbands. They have no job so they need the money to support their family,” she said. “The court is the final solution, but most women want to reconcile.”

(Additional reporting by Denise Hruby)

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