A Cambodian artist living in Thailand has called on authorities in the two countries to arrest and bring to justice two foreign nationals believed to be Polish who attacked her with a knife and acid last month in a case that has gotten widespread attention in Thailand.
The motive for the assault on Ny Sreyroth, 30, is unknown and the suspects remain at large. Thai police are investigating the case and believe the men have fled to the Philippines.
Ny Sreyroth was attacked on Nov. 1 in Pattaya, a resort town south of Bangkok. She told Radio Free Asia that a Thai woman called her to paint the wall of a new shop, but when she arrived, she was met by two foreign men whom she did not know.
“The two men came and grabbed my legs, shoulders, arms and feet, so that I could not move,” she told RFA. “They then wrapped my feet with scotch tape and covered my mouth.”
Then one of the men poured acid on her face and undid her pants, apparently to try to splash acid on her genitals, she said.
Her face blackened by the acid burns, Ny Sreyroth emerged from the house and called for help in English, though she didn’t say how she managed to escape. She recorded a video of herself describing the attack in English after it occurred and posted it to YouTube.
She was hospitalized but has since moved to a rental house in Thailand because of her growing medical bills.
Ny Sreyroth suspects that the two attackers acted at the behest of a Thai woman who was not happy with the artist, though she declined to elaborate.
She filed a complaint with Thai police and the Cambodian Embassy in Thailand, though diplomatic officials have not yet contacted her about the investigation.
Thai police have confirmed that the alleged perpetrators are Polish nationals. On Nov. 10, they requested that Interpol assist in the exchange of police information among law enforcement agencies that could lead to the arrest of the pair.
Request for protection
Ny Sreyroth also asked the government and the Cambodian Embassy to help protect her in Thailand as well as her parents in Cambodia, because she is receiving threatening messages about her family.
“I’m asking for protection because I do not know what to do, and I am worried about my safety and the future of my family,” she said. “I do not know what they plan to do.”
Civil society officials say that the Cambodian Embassy in Thailand and the government must not ignore this case and must work with Thai authorities to arrest the perpetrators.
Chou Bun Eng, Cambodia’s secretary of state for the Ministry of Interior and permanent vice president of the National Committee for Combating Human Trafficking, said she is working on the case.
She told RFA on Thursday that she contacted the Cambodian Embassy in Bangkok for information, and embassy staff told her Thai authorities were working on the case and would ask Interpol for help.
“The embassy said that it won’t allow the victim to be attacked a second time because Thai and Cambodian authorities are working to provide security to the victim and her family,” she said.
Ling Sophon, a Thailand-based labor rights officer for the Center for Alliance of Labor Human Rights, CENTRAL, said the embassy must take action to provide justice for Ny Sreyroth. “We need to bring in the suspects to be questioned. We can’t ignore it,” he said.
Phorn Phanna, vice president of the National Youth Party of the Candlelight Party in Thailand, who is following the case, criticized the Cambodian government for ignoring the wellbeing of its citizens abroad.
“Whether in Thailand or any other countries [such as] Malaysia or China where Cambodian women go to work, we see a lot of physical violence, physical abuse and sexual abuse,” he said. “The Cambodian embassies stationed there do not seem to care about them.”
Translated by Sok Ry Sum for RFA Khmer. Written in English by Roseanne Gerin. Edited by Malcolm Foster.