Court Charges Man With Rape, Murder of Polio Victim in Kandal

The Kandal Provincial Court on Wednesday charged a 36-year-old moto-taxi driver with the rape and premeditated murder of a 29-year-old disabled woman last month, police and court officials said Thursday.

Chhorn Rith, a former soldier, was arrested by police in his rental home in Phnom Penh’s Pur Senchey district after being accused of raping, murdering and robbing the woman in Kandal’s Ang Snuol district on December 12.

“Two days before [the murder] happened, the suspect contacted the victim by phone as they had fallen in love,” Ang Snuol deputy district police chief Khach Phalla said.

“Then on December 11, at 8 p.m., the suspect used his motorbike to transport the victim from her room in [Phnom Penh’s] Dangkao district,” Mr. Phalla said.

Mr. Rith was arrested on December 29, he said, and re-enacted the murder for police the next day.

Mr. Phalla said the disabled woman had suffered from polio, which left her unable to use her legs and with limited use of her arms.

“The suspect lied to bring her to go out, but he brought her far away from her room and when he arrived at a quiet place, he raped her,” he said. “After the rape, he was scared the victim would tell someone, so he killed her.”

Mr. Phalla explained that Mr. Rith had incapacitated the victim before throwing her into a canal in which she drowned.

“According to the suspect’s confession, he punched the victim in the face, she fell down to the ground, and he then grabbed her legs and threw her against the bridge,” he said. “The suspect…swung her body against the bridge, smashing her head, and then pushed her into the canal.”

Chao Vuthy, deputy chief of the provincial serious crime police bureau, said that after Mr. Rith killed the victim, he also stole two of her rings worth about $25 in total, before getting on his motorbike and returning to Phnom Penh.

Kandal Provincial Court deputy prosecutor Vong Bunvisoth said Thursday that Mr. Rith had been charged with rape and premeditated murder on Wednesday.

If found guilty, he faces life in prison.

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