The suspect in the country’s latest acid attack is at large after allegedly pouring acid over her boyfriend in Phnom Penh on Tuesday, according to police.
Leng Socheata, 21, was driving his motorbike in Prampi Makara district and his girlfriend, Chin Likim, also 21, was riding pillion when she poured the acid over his head and neck at about 2:30 p.m., said Mok Borunchhorsak, chief of police in Veal Vong commune.
“The girlfriend attacked the man with acid,” he said Wednesday. “The man was seriously injured on his head and neck and his family has sent him to Vietnam for treatment.”
Mr. Borunchhorsak said Ms. Likim was also splashed in the face by the acid during the attack.
“Police have yet to conclude whether the acid attack was because of jealousy or some other reason,” he said.
Deputy district police chief Chea Sok said Ms. Likim fled the scene immediately after the attack.
“Now we are trying to find the suspect to arrest her and we are searching for her in the hospitals,” he said.
The victim’s uncle, Sok Sarin, said his nephew was still in Vietnam undergoing treatment as of Wednesday afternoon.
Mr. Sarin said the couple had been dating for nearly a year and that Ms. Likim had repeatedly asked his nephew to get engaged. He said Mr. Socheata initially wanted to get married, but changed his mind after learning that his girlfriend had been engaged a few times before and had broken off each relationship after receiving money and jewelry from the men.
Mr. Sarin said police told him that Ms. Likim was arrested just last week for stealing a necklace and using drugs, but was set free.
And just hours before Tuesday’s attack, he said, his sister—Mr. Socheata’s mother—called him to say that Ms. Likim had phoned her to warn that a group of people were coming for her son and that “something would happen.”
“About 30 minutes later, my sister told me that her son was attacked with acid,” Mr. Sarin said, adding that he believed Ms. Likim had tried to get money from his nephew and attacked him with acid after he insisted on ending their relationship.
A photo of Ms. Likim on Mr. Socheata’s cousin’s Facebook page shows the suspect with a bandage covering her right eye, apparently because of the acid. Mr. Sarin said Ms. Likim sent the photo to the cousin directly.
The number of acid attacks across Cambodia has dropped dramatically since the government passed a law specifically addressing the crime in 2012 and approved a subsequent sub-decree regulating the sale and use of acid.