Man Caught One Year After Attacking Woman With Acid

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A traffic police officer in Phnom Penh on September 15, 2020. (VOD)

A man who was on the run from Phnom Penh police for a year after allegedly attacking a former partner with acid was caught in Covid-19 quarantine in Tbong Khmum on Saturday. 

Chhorn Sivleng, Trea commune chief of Tbong Khmum’s Kroch Chhmar district, said the man, a Phnom Penh resident, was arrested after arriving in the province last Wednesday and going into quarantine.

The man had arrived at the commune from Ratanakiri province, where police believe he spent the past year, and Kroch Chhmar district authorities cooperated with police from Phnom Penh in order to make the arrest, said Sorm Samatt, a Trea commune police officer. Officials were alerted to his identity because the district health officer recorded it for the quarantine process, he said.

According to officials, the man had attacked a 50-year-old woman with acid in a fit of jealousy in Choam Chao I commune in Phnom Penh’s Pur Senchey district on May 28, 2020.

The woman, who worked as a garment factory guard and lived with her daughter, had previously been romantically involved with the accused, but he had left her for another woman in 2015.

Chea Sovan, deputy inspector of criminal activity for Pur Senchey district, claimed that the man, a motorbike-taxi driver, had heard his former partner was being introduced by relatives to another man, spurring the jealousy.

“The man wanted to reunite with his wife, but she refused him,” he said. “That was what made him decide to attack [her] with acid in 2020, and we could not find him after that.”

Pur Senchey district police chief Mom Vuthy said the man was detained and awaiting trial.

There were at least 17 cases of intentional use of predominantly nitric or sulfuric acid in violent attacks between December 2013 and May 2017, according to research from Human Rights Watch in Cambodia.

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