Battambang Rape Suspect Arrested, Escapes

Police arrested a 50-year-old ex-convict last week accused of raping a 7-year-old girl in Battam­bang province, but the man es­caped the same day and is still at large, an official said Wednesday.

The victim’s parents, from Sang Ha village, Sdao commune, complained to police after the girl told them she was raped April 1, said Chea Thaun, provincial deputy police chief.

On April 2, police arrested the suspect, Ho Heng, a farmer in the village. But as they were transporting him to the district police station by motorbike, he jumped off and fled, Chea Thaun said.

Ho Heng has served jail time twice, the police chief said: once in 1993 for axing a man, and a subsequent 10-year sentence for raping a 6-year-old girl.

The latest rape occurred after the girl had gone to the village’s pagoda with her adopted mother to go dancing, Chea Thaun said. The girl’s mother left her at the pagoda and the suspect took her into the forest and raped her, Chea Thaun said.

Provincial Police Chief Heng Vantha said 3,000 police will be de­ployed for Khmer New Year celebrations in Battambang after the recent rape, especially be­cause Ho Heng is still at large.

Officials from Stung Treng and Phnom Penh also said they would increase police presence for the celebrations and urged parents to keep watch over their children. “I would like to appeal to all parents not to allow their daughters to be away from home at night playing games,” said Chou Pi Chhoura, Stung Treng provincial penal police chief. “Most rapes happen when there is music and dancing.”

He said 200 police would be de­ployed in his province at pagodas and other places where crowds gather to celebrate. But police would not get a per diem for their extra work. “Previously, each policeman was given [$1.25] per day from the Interior Ministry for their work during festivals,” Chou Pi Chhoura said. “But during the last few years, we got nothing.”


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