Police Accept Criminal Complaint in Acid Attack Case in Myanmar’s Ayeyarwady Region


2020-03-20
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myanmar-leh-leh-win-acid-attack-victim-undated-photo.jpg Leh Leh Win appears in an undated photo that hangs on a wall of her house in the town of Pantanaw in southwest Myanmar's Ayeyarwady region.
RFA video screenshot

Myanmar police have accepted a criminal complaint by a businesswoman who was the victim of an acid attack in Ayeyarwady region, five months after she reported the assault that severely burned her face and caused her to lose sight in one eye, she told RFA on Friday.

Leh Leh Win, the 30-year-old victim who filed the complaint on March 19 at Pantanaw Myoma Police Station, said she believes that the vicious attack that occurred outside her downtown home on Oct. 24 was carried out by two local residents with the assistance of two police officers.

“The head of the township police station said cases against two suspected policemen and the two civilians would be filed separately, but I didn’t agree to it,” she told RFA’s Myanmar Service, without elaborating on how the officers may have been involved in the crime.

“I insisted that they file a single case against all four people, and they finally did it,” she said, adding that charges related to inflicting bodily harm and trespassing were filed under four sections of Myanmar’s Penal Code.

The township’s Social Services Department helped Leh Leh Win file the charges, she said.

“I asked a judge to try my case quickly, and he said he would do it as soon as possible because he was very sad to see what had happened to my face,” she said.

The businesswoman said she also received a response to a letter about the attack that she had sent to the President Win Myint's office, acknowledging the receipt of her correspondence on Jan. 21 and assuring her that the office would do whatever necessary to ensure justice in the matter.

The letter from the President’s Office was dated March 5, and Leh Leh Win said she received it on Tuesday.

“I believe there will be justice if the police do their job well and transfer the case to a judicial officer, and the court handles it in a timely manner,” she said.

Mann Thein Nyunt, a lower house lawmaker from Pantanaw township, said his staff got involved in the case after they saw RFA’s initial report about the attack.

“After we saw it on RFA, we sent a letter to the Union parliament’s Legal Aid Committee on March 17,” he said. “We are waiting for a response.”

He also said that when he returns to Pantanaw township during the next parliamentary break, he will ask the police for an update on Leh Leh Win’s case.

“I think there will be some news because I heard that the case has already been sent to the Criminal Investigation Department,” he said.

RFA was unable to reach Police Colonel Htay Aung, head of Pantanaw Myoma Police Station, for comment.

Assailants on motorcycle

Leh Leh Win was standing outside her home in downtown Pantanaw town talking to a female acquaintance on the night of the assault, when two people on a motorcycle pulled up and doused her face with acid. The liquid burned nearly all the skin on her upper body.

She was hospitalized and underwent several rounds of surgery as medical personnel tried to keep her alive. Though she lost sight in her right eye, doctors were able to save her left eye.

In an earlier report, Leh Leh Win told RFA that she believed one of her assailants to be a woman with whom she had quarreled on social media.

Leh Leh Win, who said local media outlets were unwilling to report her story unless she paid them, noted that some individuals do not like her because she sometimes lends money to people and charges them interest.

Police have not yet made any arrests in the case.

Acid attacks are unusual in Myanmar, although they occur occasionally in other South and Southeast Asian countries.

Reported by Thant Zin Oo for RFA’s Myanmar Service. Translated by Khet Mar. Written in English by Roseanne Gerin.

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