Perpetrator Finally Caught in 1995 Acid Attack

After having spent nearly 14 years avoiding arrest warrants of Kandal Provincial Court, a woman was finally arrested Saturday over an acid attack on her husband’s mistress, officials said Wednesday.

Roeung Channo, 47, was arrested at her shop in Siem Reap town’s Phsar Leur market early Saturday morning, said Phing Chendareth, municipal minor crime police chief.

Siem Reap police were joined in the arrest by officers from Kandal province, who took Roeung Chan-no into custody, police said.

“We went to arrest her after having heard that she was hiding there,” said Soeung Seakly, Kandal province minor crimes police chief. “She had been lived in hiding for years in a rented house. We had worked very, very hard to locate her.”

Police officials said Roeung Channo had been on the run since shortly after she poured several liters of nitric acid on then-22 year old Mean Chamroeun in May 1995, in a fit of jealousy. The Kandal court convicted Roeung Channo in absentia in March 1996, and sentenced her to five years in prison.

News of the arrest prompted mixed emotions from the victim.

“I had never thought that she would be arrested because this case took such a long time,” said Mean Chamroeun, whose face was terribly disfigured by the acid.

Both of her ears were completely dissolved, and her eyelids, which had melted away, have now been replaced by skin from her hip. She keeps her face covered to prevent people from seeing her scars.

“I have mixed feeling, happy and frightened because I am afraid of further revenge,” she said of the arrest from her temporary shelter in Kandal province.

She said even though the arrest took 14 years, she feels lucky compared to the many women whose attackers aren’t brought to justice.

Mean Chamroeun’s attorney Kao Soupha said he had spent several years pushing for Roeung Channos’s arrest, but that no action was taken until he met with newly appointed Kandal Prosecutor Uk Kimsith a few weeks ago.

Roeung Channo was placed in pretrial detention Monday morning, Kandal Prison Director Muong Sam Ath said.

 

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