19-Year-Old Apprehended in Yet Another Rape-Murder Case Case

Phnom Penh Municipal Police arrested a 19-year-old man on Tues­day in the rape and murder of a 21-year-old woman, police said yesterday.

According to Ou Phearum, the deputy penal police chief of Choam Chao commune, officers found the strangled victim’s naked body inside a rented room in a Dangkao district house late Tuesday night, leading them to the apprehension of six suspects who rented rooms in the same building.

Police released five of the men the next morning, Mr Phearum said, but detained Pech Hing, 19, after noticing bruises and scratches on his hands, neck and face.

“We kept him overnight, then the next day the bruises appeared clearly, which led us to suspect him,” he said.

District deputy police chief Sok Heng said the suspect has now confessed to the crime.

“The suspect confessed that he killed the woman,” he said. “We’re making the report, and we are sending him to the court.”

Bith Kimhong, director of the Interior Ministry’s anti-human trafficking department, said his office recorded only six rape-murder cases throughout the country in 2009 and did not have any figures yet for 2010.

The Cambodia Daily has reported on eight rape-murders of women and children since the beginning of this year alone.

Mr Kimhong said police could not eliminate rape-murder altogether but could reduce the phenomenon by cooperating more with witnesses and prosecutors to make sure killers are punished. He also said authorities were also addressing the issue with public service announcements broadcast on radio and television.

SRP lawmaker Mu Sochua la­mented the persistence of this increasingly common crime.

“We are talking about the issue over and over, but nothing is happening,” the former minister of women’s affairs said. “There are many workshops talking about the problem, but nothing is coming out,” she said.



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