About one month after an acid attack occurred in Takeo province’s Bati district, a family member of the victim yesterday expressed doubt that police will provide justice as reports emerged the suspect fled overseas.
On February 27, 43-year-old Kub Ha attacked and poured acid on his mistress 23-year-old San Chenda.
Ms Chenda, who lost consciousness in the incident, eventually came to and was sent to hospital with a deep cut to her wrist and acid burns to her face.
Chem Srey Seang, a cousin of the victim, yesterday said Ms Chenda is still recovering in hospital and that her condition is improving, following two operations.
“She’s still in hospital and we do not know when the doctors will allow her to leave,” she said, noting that police have been asking them questions, but have yet to locate the suspect.
“I do not have much faith that police will find the suspect or provide justice for her because we are poor,” Ms Srey Seang said. “Our case will not be solved by the police.”
“I asked for help from an organisation, but I do not want to talk about this issue because it could affect the investigation,” she added.
District police chief Colonel Ngann Sari said the victim wanted to end her four-year affair with the suspect.
“The victim wanted to split up with the suspect, but the suspect did not want her to leave him,” Col Sari said. “That made him angry and then he committed the crime.”
“We are conducting an investigation so that we can arrest him, even though the victim did not file a complaint with us,” Col Sari added, noting that the suspect might have already fled the Kingdom.
He said that police questioned the suspect’s relatives, but neither his wife nor his relatives know his whereabouts.
“We know the suspect’s identity and we are accusing him of the crime,” Col Sari said. “I do not know what charges he will face in court.”
According to a report by Human Rights Watch last month, survivors of acid violence were deprived of free medical care, as stipulated by law, and pressured to accept inadequate settlements during the time of their research.
The organisation spoke with 81 people, including 17 survivors of acid attacks in Phnom Penh and Kampong Cham province.
“While Cambodia’s Acid Law requires state hospitals to provide free medical care for acid attack survivors, no survivors interviewed by Human Rights Watch had received free treatment,” HRW said in its report.
The Justice Ministry responded to the report and called it inaccurate and a politically motivated to discredit law enforcement.
“I can assume that the report had no methodology to back its claims and was used to attack the Cambodian government,” Justice Ministry spokesman Chin Malin said. “We have no idea who they [HRW] interviewed and what questions they asked… I think the report was made up purely to discredit the government.”