In separate cases, two Preah Vihear men were arrested last month on charges of raping underage girls because they believed it would cure them of AIDS, police and provincial officials said.
Uk Bopha Roth, 18, and Satt Yeut, 42, both of Tbeng Meanchey district, were arrested March 23 for the rapes of two girls, ages 8 and 5, a provincial police official said Thursday. The official declined to be named, saying his superiors told him not to discuss the case with the media for fear that “uneducated” AIDS patients would copy the crime.
“They believe that underage girls will cure their AIDS,” the official said. “I believe there are more victims in [similar] cases.”
Preah Vihear Governor Preap Tan confirmed Sunday the two men confessed to the attacks. They were brought to provincial court on March 25 on rape charges and are being detained there while awaiting trial. He declined to give further details.
Neither man has actually tested positive for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, the police official said, but both suspected they could have HIV because they frequently had unprotected sex with prostitutes.
The men were arrested after the girls’ families complained to police, the official said. The official did not know when the rapes occurred nor whether the men knew each other.
“Their belief is destroying society,” Ly Po, deputy director of the National AIDS Authority, said Thursday.
Lack of education has perpetuated the provincial belief that sex with young girls can cure AIDS, Ly Po said.