The families of three men who are on the run after allegedly gang-raping a 16-year-old girl last week have offered to pay the girl’s family $6,000 if they agree to retract the complaint against them, her aunt said Wednesday, but police said the case must still be sent to court.
On August 18, the girl went with three of her neighbors—Song Phanna, 22; Chab Layheang, 18; and a 17-year-old boy—to drink whisky in a field in Kandal province’s Mok Kampul district, according to police. Once the girl was drunk, the suspects took turns raping her, police said.
On Wednesday, the alleged victim’s aunt and guardian, Phorn Sokhim, 35, said that relatives of the three suspects had come to her house earlier this week, each offering a payment of $2,000 if the victim’s family dropped the case.
“I wanted to withdraw the complaint because I am poor and have no money to go to court and the suspects’ families wanted me to compromise and agreed to pay $2,000 each,” she said, adding that the suspects’ relatives said they would only pay her once the complaint was formally withdrawn.
Deputy district police chief Chea Ny—who began a search for the suspects the day after the alleged rape—on Wednesday said he had not heard about efforts by the suspects’ families to have the complaint dropped.
“Right now, our police haven’t arrested the suspects, but I will send the complaint to the court on Friday,” Mr. Ny said, adding that the case would be forwarded to the court regardless of whether the complaint was withdrawn.
“This is a big case, so no one can solve it outside of the legal system,” he said.
Rong Sreymuch, women’s program director for rights group Adhoc in Kandal, was of the same opinion.
“I suggest that [Ms. Sokhim] should still take the money, but it would only be civil compensation, and the penal procedures would still have to go through to the prosecutors,” she said.