Acid splashed, tendons slashed in attack on Canadian-Vietnamese man

By Thach Thao   February 15, 2019 | 05:00 pm PT
Acid splashed, tendons slashed in attack on Canadian-Vietnamese man
Police investigate a scene where Canadian-Vietnamese Vo Duy Nghiem was splashed with acid in the central province of Quang Ngai. Photo by VnExpress/Gia Bao
Vietnamese police are hunting two people who assaulted a Canadian-Vietnamese couple with acid and knives earlier this month.

The attack happened the night of February 9 as Vo Duy Nghiem was driving a motorbike with his girlfriend Nguyen Thi Ngoc Tram riding pillion. The couple, both 26, were on their way to dinner near Khe Hai Beach in the central province of Quang Ngai when two masked persons on a motorbike splashed acid on Nghiem.

As he writhed in pain, they slashed his tendons and knee joints three times before riding away.

Nghiem and Tram were taken to a hospital later. He was found to have his cornea and 80 percent of his body burnt by the acid. Tram escaped with minor acid burns.

Nghiem, born in Vietnam, moved to Canada after finishing high school. The last time he returned was in 2016. Weeks ago, he came back to celebrate Tet, the Lunar New Year Festival.

Police said Nghiem had neither a criminal record nor known enmity during his time in Vietnam, and they suspect the attack might stem from some conflict in Canada. An investigation has been launched.

Acid attacks are not an uncommon issue in Vietnam, but unlike other Asian countries like Cambodia, India and Pakistan, where the situation is constantly monitored by domestic and transnational organizations, statistics in Vietnam are somewhat off the radar.

One doctor at HCMC’s Cho Ray Hospital said in 2017 that acid attack victims accounted for 40 to 60 cases every year in its Burns and Reconstructive Surgery Unit, or 2 to 3 percent of the patients.

Acid splashing, more often than not acts of vengeance or punishment, mostly affect women in Vietnam. Very few men are targeted by acid attacks.

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