Three people were burned, and two were critically injured, when people in two separate attacks doused their spouses with gasoline and set them alight on Sunday, officials said yesterday.
In Banteay Meanchey, Phon Seng Huot, 30, held his wife, 20-year-old Pich Sreyda, by her hair and poured gasoline into her mouth and over her head before setting her on fire, Poipet City governor Tri Narin said yesterday.
As Ms Sreyda struggled, lit gasoline splashed onto the couple’s 6-month-old baby. Both are being treated for critical injuries at O’Chrou district hospital, Mr Narin said.
Police are searching for Mr Huot, who escaped after the attack in Poipet’s Thma Sin commune, said Sim Savuth, the city’s deputy police chief. According to Mr Savuth, floodwaters in the area due to recent heavy rains made it difficult for police to stop his flight.
“This offender can’t escape from our hands, because action is cruel and immoral in Khmer society, so we need to arrest him for punishment,” Mr Savuth said.
According to Ms Sreyda’s parents, the couple has recently had marital problems, Mr Savuth said. Before the attack, both Ms Sreyda and her husband had worked as teachers at a local primary school.
Also on Sunday, in Kompong Cham’s Kroch Chhmar district, Sen Mayom, 36, doused her husband, 39-year-old Ly Mat, with gasoline and lit him on fire as he slept in a hammock, according to Khieu Pov, Kampong Trea commune chief.
Shortly afterwards, Ms Mayom put out the fire using a wet pillow, Mr Pov said, adding that Mr Mat suffered superficial burns and was recovering in Phnom Penh’s Calmette Hospital.
Police concluded that Ms Mayom suffered from mental health problems and released her on Monday, Mr Pov said.
“We also got called from her husband from Phnom Penh asking us to release her because no one is there to take care of his three children,” Mr Pov said. He added that the Kroch Chhmar district governor had approved the release, as neighbors of the couple had also told police that Ms Mayom was mentally ill.