Sisters’ Acid Attackers Still At Large, Chea Ratha Gang Free Too

Authorities have made no progress in tracking down the attackers of two teenage sisters who were doused with acid and severely injured in Phnom Penh last month, a police official said yesterday.

Kim Sodine, 18, and her younger sister Kim Sonita, 17, were riding their motorbike to work on the morning of Dec 10 when two males wearing protective masks and helmets pulled up alongside the two girls and poured acid over their bare heads.

Ouch Sokhon, chief of police in Chamkar Mon district where the horrific attack took place, said that despite collaboration with the penal police department at the Interior Ministry “is no clear lead on the suspects.”

The district police chief reiterated that the victims, whose exact health condition is unknown but is believed to be grave due to the extent of their burns, need to return from Vietnam and “cooperate” with police.

Horng Shanghai, 19, who works for Ms Sodine and Ms Sonita in their small hairdressing salon in Phnom Penh’s Boeng Keng Kang market, said yesterday that the two teenagers were still receiving treatment in Vietnam.

“The acid is still burning their skin and they are being looked after by their mother,” she said.

The victim of a December 15 acid attack, Hang Sreileak, 19, who was doused with acid by two men in Daun Penh district’s Srah Chak commune, also left for treatment in Vietnam about 10 days ago, said Chev Virak, production manager at television channel TV 9.

Ms Sreileak won the first week’s beauty contest of the “Beautiful Girl, Beautiful Boy” television show on TV 9, which runs from November to April. The nineteen year old received burns to her ear, cheek, back and chest, witnesses said. Suspects Saom Pitu, 23, cousin of the victim, and Theng Puth, 25, are currently in provisional detention at Prey Sar prison.

Interior Ministry spokesman Lieutenant General Khieu Sopheak said yesterday that the country’s most wanted acid attacker, Chea Ratha, who was until recently a senior military police commander, and five accomplices are still at large.

The gang, led by Ms Ratha, orchestrated a brutal acid attack in 2008 that seriously injured Ya Soknim, 39, the aunt of Ms Ratha’s former lover. Police believe that Ms Ratha was also behind two previous acid attacks, also connected to her love life.


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