Pushed by the Japanese Embassy and the family of the victim, Phnom Penh police are investigating the brutal beating of a Japanese woman that sent her to Singapore for medical care and may have left her brain-damaged, officials said Sunday.
The woman was on life support and heavy medication and “did not wake up yet,” embassy First Secretary Yutaka Aoki said Monday. The embassy doctor believes “she will survive, but there is the possibility of [brain] damage,” Aoki said.
Hiromi Yukimatsu, 23, was attacked in her home in Mittapheap commune, Prampi Makara district, around 2 am Saturday, but police have been unable to identify a motive or suspect, officials said.
Commune, municipal and minor crimes police are all “very focused” on the case, said Sok Khemarin, Phnom Penh penal police chief. He declined to discuss the case further while it was still under investigation, but said police were being urged by the Japanese Embassy and the family of the victim to find the attacker.
Japan remains the largest aid donor to Cambodia, which brings Japanese engineers, technicians and other workers to live in the country. An increasing number of Japanese are coming to Cambodia as tourists.
Yukimatsu was teaching Japanese at a private Japanese school, said Miyo Sugano, 27, a Japanese expatriate who works for the Japan International Cooperation Agency.
Sugano said the attack left her “very afraid.”
Police have found no sign of forced entry, no signs of robbery and no sign that the victim was raped, an investigator close to the case said. A hammer found at the home might have been the weapon used, he said.
Police ruled out the woman’s boyfriend—a US citizen who was out of the house at the time—as a suspect, the investigator said.
Witnesses told police that the couple had not been fighting, but that they had heard possible cries of distress around 2 am, the investigator said.
A hammer found in Yukimatsu’s home may have been used in the assault, said the investigator, who asked not to be identified.