Police Remain Silent on Investigation Into Acid-Murder

Police remained tightlipped yesterday over the circumstances surrounding the brutal murder of a 19-year-old woman in Sihanoukville on Friday night who was killed by an attacker who poured acid over her head and into her mouth.

Kruy Aing Chheng died on Saturday at a private clinic in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district after a friend helped to transport the critically injured teenager to the capital in an ambulance. She was then buried Sunday morning in Kandal province’s Sa’ang district not far from where her family lives.

Police have released little information regarding the circumstances of the attack, or whom they suspect carried it out.

Police said on Sunday that the attack occurred on the street in Sihanoukville City’s Number Four commune, but Number Four village chief Heng Bunly said yesterday that he knew nothing about the attack. Mr. Bunly also said that the victim’s residence was located 100 meters from his home.

Preah Sihanouk provincial police chief Tak Vantha declined to comment on the investigation. Kol Phally, deputy police chief for Preah Sihanouk province, would only say that police do not yet know exactly where the lethal attack took place, but it was not perpetrated inside the victim’s house.

According to Kim Lay, the victim’s aunt, Kruy Aing Chheng had been working at the Fortuna Hotel and Casino in Sihanoukville as a card dealer for a month prior to her death.

Ms. Lay—who lives in Phnom Penh and was present at the hospital when her niece died from her horrific injuries—said yesterday that the young woman had received a telephone call from a man she used to know in Phnom Penh moments before she was attacked.

The man allegedly asked Kruy Aing Chheng to meet him nearby her home, Ms. Lay said, adding that she had no more information on why her niece may have been attacked.

“A man later called Aing Chheng’s phone and asked if she was still alive or dead so that he could come and contribute some money,” Ms. Lay said.

Kim Pov, who is also an aunt of the victim and lives in Sa’ang district, said yesterday that police officials had told her to stop speaking to the media about the case.

The death of Kruy Aing Chheng is the seventh reported acid attack to take place in Cambodia this year. It is also the second recorded death from an acid attack in 2012.

Jim Gollogly, CEO of the Cambodia Acid Survivors Charity, an organization that offers free treatment to victims of acid attacks, said he would like to see police make an arrest in the case.

“What we would like to see is police arrest someone and make it public. There is no reason for them to cover it up unless it is someone very important,” he said.

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