Police Hunt Female Perpetrator After Acid Attack in Poipet

A woman was recovering in hospital Tuesday after being doused with acid in an attack in Banteay Meanchey province’s Poipet City on Monday as police said they are searching for the attacker and a motive for the year’s second acid attack case.

The city’s deputy police chief, Sun Savuth, said the female attacker fled the scene after she threw acid on Taing Kimchou, 30, as she sat and ate noodles in a market on Monday.

“The victim was wounded on her head and body and we have found a bottle of acid that the perpetrator used, but we don’t know what type of acid it is,” Mr. Savuth said.

“I can’t conclude if it’s a love affair or revenge case, because we haven’t questioned the victim while she is being treated at the hospital,” he said.

Poipet commune police chief Im Sophearak said witnesses reported seeing the attack at about 3 p.m. on Monday, after which the perpetrator immediately fled and the victim left as well.

“The victim was believed not to have sustained serious injuries, because she washed her face and body before driving away with a motodop,” Mr. Sophearak said. Police only tracked her down to the local referral hospital Tuesday, he said.

Photographs of the victim show she has suffered burns to her scalp, the left side of her face, neck and arm.

The hospital’s director, Chan Puthinavuth, said doctors are monitoring her situation after she checked herself in on Monday evening.

Erin Bourgois, project manager at the Cambodian Acid Survivors Charity (CASC), said this is the year’s second acid attack and that the number of cases has been decreasing steadily over the past few years.

“In the first attack, the victim was injured over about 40 percent of their body. If this attack is about 20 percent, they can hopefully treat her here [in Cambodia],” Ms. Bourgois said.

“We’re concerned about her physical condition, her safety and that her family know there are services available through CASC,” she said.

Statistics provided by Ms. Bourgois show that there has been a continuing decline in the number of acid attacks in the country. There were three acid attacks in 2013, none of which were fatal.

“This marks a 40 percent reduction in attacks from 2012 and an 83 percent decrease from the peak year in 2010 where 20 acid attacks and 36 survivors were recorded,” according to CASC, which attributes the decline in part to the passage of the Acid Law in 2012 and an acid sub-decree a year later.

(Additional reporting by Lauren Crothers)

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