The Phnom Penh Municipal Court charged two women with the assault of a 20-year-old woman yesterday, but decided not to pursue further charges for the alleged plotting of an acid attack, Deputy Prosecutor Heang Sopheak said.
On Tuesday Noun Sineth, 34, and Roeun Mom, 20, were arrested by police in Daun Penh district for allegedly trying to attack the victim with acid.
“I decided only to charge them in one case, as the acid did not hit the woman,” Mr Sopheak said. The suspects had been released on bail as the victim, whose name he did not know, had agreed to an out-of-court settlement of $1,500, he said.
“The acid attack did not take place so we could not charge them with this,” he said.
Mr Sopheak said Ms Sineth had told the court she had informed her motorbike taxi driver that she was jealous of her husband’s mistress. The driver bought battery acid with Ms Sineth, and when she later attacked the victim by hitting her with her shoe, he threw the acid toward the victim before driving away, Mr Sopheak said.
Deputy municipal military police commander Khen Sovan said that even though the victim had accepted compensation and had withdrawn her complaint with the authorities, officials still decided to send the case to the court on the grounds of violent conduct.
Mr Sovan said that police are not looking for the motorbike taxi driver who allegedly threw the acid because there was not enough evidence to support the allegations.
Chhun Sophea, program manager at the Cambodian Acid Survivors Charity in Phnom Penh, said regardless of who had thrown it or whether it had landed on the victim, the intention to strike the victim with acid was clearly there.
“It’s a premeditated plan,” she said. “I think they [the court] do need to press charges for this. They need to teach a lesson and make people scared about ever committing a crime like that.”
(Additional reporting by Simon Marks)
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