Cassava Plantation Gang Rape Suspect Arrested

Police in Stung Treng province said Tuesday that they arrested a man on suspicion of taking part in the gang rape of a 20-year-old woman in a cassava field last week.

Duong Sivutha, chief of the provincial police’s serious crimes bureau, said that Sim Sarey, 30, was arrested Monday after being questioned at Siem Bok district’s O’Mreas commune police station, where the woman had filed a complaint the previous day.

The woman said she was attacked by three men at around 3 p.m. last Tuesday while working on a cassava plantation, according to Mr. Sivutha.

“Based on the woman’s complaint, she said that on September 8—while her husband was away—she was clearing the grass in a cassava plantation nearby her house,” he said.

“At that time, three men appeared, and one man covered her mouth and then they carried her deep into the cassava plantation. The men then removed all her clothing…. Those men raped her one by one,” he said.

Mr. Sivutha said the victim had identified two other accomplices and that police were searching for the pair. All three suspects are thought to have been employed at the plantation, he said.

Sen Vathana, deputy district police chief, said the case was particularly serious as the group also raped the woman using a cassava root.

Mr. Sarey—who denied the charges—was still being held for questioning Tuesday afternoon, Mr. Vathana said. The two other suspects are believed to be in Kratie province, he added.

“It’s hard to investigate that case because the complaint was filed too late and the two other suspects were already at large,” he said.

“We have already contacted police in Kratie to join our investigation to arrest them.”

In the first six months of this year, rights group Adhoc recorded 131 rape cases, compared to 80 cases during the same period in 2014. The group said six of the cases this year involved multiple perpetrators.

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