Crime & Courts

Down Syndrome man attacked in lift never communicated with attacker

GEORGETOWN: The family of a man with Down Syndrome who suffered injuries after being scalded with hot water by a woman in the elevator of an apartment in Bayan Lepas, has never communicated with the perpetrator.

The man's sister, A Krishna Armi, 23, said that on the day of the incident, she was awakened by her mother around 10am after returning from her night shift work and was informed that her brother, Solai Raj, 33, was crying in pain with blistered skin.

"He ran up to our home on the 16th floor calling for our mother while crying. I had my brother sit near the fan, and an hour later, we managed to take him to the clinic in Bayan Lepas before an ambulance brought him to the Penang Hospital (HPP).

"As far as I know, my brother did not have any conflicts with anyone. He was well-liked by many despite being a person with disabilities. He was used to walking alone without needing accompaniment to go to the shops and so on.

"We do not know the woman (suspect). She lives there too. We have never talked to her and do not know what her problem is. So, we contacted the management and requested to check the CCTV recordings to find out what really happened," she said when met at HPP here, yesterday.

Yesterday, it was reported that the 39-year-old woman was detained in the same neighbourhood at 9.21pm to assist police investigations into the case.

Krishna Armi said her family had referred the matter to a lawyer and hoped that her brother's case, who is the 13th child out of 14 siblings, would receive proper representation.

Meanwhile, the Penang Hospital (HPP) director, Dr Goh Hin Kwang, said the victim suffered burns covering six per cent of his skin surface, and will take up to two weeks for full recovery.

He said, clinically, the cause of the injuries was due to hot water, and the victim is currently placed in the Burns Care Unit. The victim is expected to be allowed to return home within a week if the recovery process goes smoothly.

"From the beginning, we observed from a clinical perspective that the injury was caused by hot water. To determine with certainty whether it was caused by acid, it may take a little more time because symptoms (if any) may take two to three days, but clinically, it is most likely caused by hot water.

"We expect that we need to monitor for at least a week to see the progress of the burn wounds. If everything goes smoothly, he may be able to return home within a week, at the latest two weeks," he explained.

Social Development, Welfare, and Non-Islamic Affairs Development Executive Councillor Lim Siew Khim, who also visited the disabled youth, said her department would give a RM500 donation and was prepared to provide assistance as needed.

"I spoke with the victim for nearly 40 minutes, and I saw that he is a positive person. He seemed cheerful and friendly, even offering to treat me to a meal despite having some difficulty in speech.

"I also want to express regret for what happened and call on the community to be more aware and sensitive, especially when it involves special individuals," she said.

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