Police and military police in Banteay Meanchey province’s Poipet City are searching for a mother who allegedly poured acid on her 2-year-old son in order to help her earn money begging, police and rights workers said yesterday.
Deputy provincial military police chief Or Borin said that his officers are cooperating with provincial police and rights workers to find the woman. “[Her actions] were worse than an animal,” Mr Borin said, though he declined to name the suspect as the investigation is still ongoing.
Police were informed of the case by local rights organization Adhoc on Sunday and are now searching for the mother and child, he said,
Soum Chankea, provincial Adhoc coordinator, said his organization was alerted to the case following a tip-off from a local vendor.
“She used acid to wound her son’s hip in order to attract pity,” he said.
Witnesses told Adhoc that the woman, who usually begged for money at Rong Kloeur market near the Thai border, rubbed her son’s wound with acid every week to keep it looking ghastly, and regularly drugged the child with sleeping pills if he cried too loudly, according to Mr Chankea.
Chhun Sophea, program manager for the Cambodian Acid Survivors Charity, said her organization has recorded 266 acid attacks since the organization was formed in 2006, but that she has never encountered a case like this before.
On Jan 28, the Interior Ministry created a committee to draft a law on acid crimes, which met for the first time in February.
Ouk Kimleng, undersecretary of state at the ministry and deputy chairman of the committee, said work on the new law was progressing. “It will be passed, and produce results, at the end of this year,” he said.
The CASC recorded 33 acid victims in 2009, and 18 so far this year, according to Ms Sophea. “If a new law is passed, the number of victims will be reduced,” she said.