Minister Wants Long-Stalled Cases Revisited

Minister of Women’s Affairs Mu Sochua appealed Wednes­day for further investigation into the 1999 killing of Cambodian starlet Piseth Pilika and the acid attack later that year on karaoke video actress Tat Marina.

Speaking outside the National Assembly, Mu Sochua criticized the lack of progress in the two high-profile crime cases, which symbolize for some the high level of impunity in cases of violence against Cambodian women.

Piseth Pilika was gunned down on a busy street in Phnom Penh, and, despite alleged evidence link­ing a powerful official to the kill­ing, police have never arrested any suspects.

Tat Marina was horribly disfigured in December 1999 in an acid attack allegedly perpetrated by Khoun Sophal, the wife of undersecretary of state for the Council of Ministers, Svay Sitha.

Tat Ma­rina was 16 years old when she was attacked for al­legedly having a love affair with Svay Sitha.

No one has ever stood trial for the attack. Khoun Sophal remains at large.

“We are looking for a complete set of legal measures to find justice for suffering women,” Mu Sochua told reporters.

Mu Sochua said those involved in the abuse of women, including the powerful, must be prosecuted. “In [another] country, when such a case happens, the head of government would never let that kind of official remain around him,” said Mu Sochua, who also ac­cused some officials of trawling the Kien Svay district of Kandal province for young girls.

NGOs have branded Kien Svay a haven for prostitution, said Mu Sochua, adding that she has written to the Ministry of Interior about activities in the area.

Lawmakers failed to achieve a quorum Wednesday, stalling debate on a long-awaited domestic violence law, which would be the first definition of violence in the home and would allow legal recourse for victims of such abuse.

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