Search for Suspect in Acid Attack Still a Bust, Police Say

If Khoun Sophal happens to fall out of the sky and land on a Phnom Penh policeman, she will probably be arrested.

Short of that, it doesn’t look good.

Two police officials insisted Monday that they are continuing to work hard on the case, but say they have no idea where the prime suspect in the acid attack on Tat Marina can possibly be. Kim Hourn is the police chief of the Tuol Kok district where Khoun Sophal and her husband Svay Sitha—an undersecretary of state for the Council of Ministers—share a large home with their family.

“I have ordered all police stations of [the] district to arrest her whenever she appears,” he said. “We have not heard anything from her to understand where she is living.”

He insists that she has not visited her home since the day of the attack. “She is hiding, but we do not know where she hides,” he said. “This case is a mystery.”

And then, to emphasize his point, he said, “Our police officials never saw her going across the area where we are standing.”

Tat Marina was attacked near the Olympic Market, in the Chamkarmon district. Toep Kum, deputy police chief of that district, said they have a warrant for Khoun Sophal too—but they haven’t seen her either.

He said he thinks she went into even deeper hiding after a book was published about the crime. “I think she might have got more frightened,” he said. “This book made her run away.”

He said his men, too, are on the job, as are police all over the city. “We must arrest her whenever, if we meet her somewhere,” he said.

At City Hall, deputy cabinet chief Sok Lakhena said municipal officials don’t know anything about the case either. He said it’s probably the court’s responsibility, though court officials insist that they are waiting for the police to arrest her.

“We do not know anything about her,” he said.


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