Nightclub Closed in Acid Attack Investigation

Phnom Penh municipal police Chief Touch Naruth said Sunday that police have closed a Daun Penh district nightclub belonging to national military police Deputy Chief of Staff Chea Ratha as part of an investigation into a May 6 acid attack.

Family members of Ya Soknim, 35, the victim in the acid attack, have accused a senior official of threatening them with violence following a lovers’ quarrel with a member of their family.

On May 12, the Municipal Court charged municipal penal police officer Ear Puthea, 34, who had once served as an assistant to Chea Ratha when she was a deputy municipal police chief, with illegal use of a weapon for his alleged role in the attack.

On Saturday morning, police closed Srah Chak commune’s Wynni Club and are awaiting a warrant from the court to search the premises, Touch Naruth said.

“We have got the order from a high-ranking officer to close this club,” he said.

“This club belongs to Chea Ratha,” he added. When asked if the closure was related to the investigation of the acid attack, Touch Naruth confirmed that the two were connected, but declined to say whether Chea Ratha is part of the attack investigation.

Deputy National Police Com­missioner Sok Phal said Sunday that two nightclubs have been closed due to the investigation into the acid attack but declined to name the establishments or who owns them.

“The police authorities closed two clubs in Phnom Penh municipality” Saturday, Sok Phal said.

He also confirmed that Ear Puthea is still a Phnom Penh municipal police officer.

Chea Ratha is still out of the country and could not be contacted Sunday.

National Police Commissioner Hok Lundy said Thursday that arrest warrants had been issued for as many as four remaining suspects in the acid attack on Ya Soknim.

Cambodian police are providing security to the family of Ya Soknim in Vietnam, where doctors have removed an ear and an eye because of damage caused by the acid.

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