District Police Chief Denies Raping Student

A district police chief in Kompong Chhnang province was on Tuesday questioned over accusations that he raped a high-school student in his office earlier this month and threatened to kill the young woman’s family if she told anyone about the assault.

Hul Veasna, 42, chief of police in Kompong Tralach district, said provincial police questioned him over a complaint the 19-year-old filed against him on Monday claiming he raped her on July 11 after tricking her into coming to the district police station by offering to lend her his motorbike.

“They questioned me at the provincial police headquarters, but I’ve come back [to the district police station] now,” he said, adding that after making him sign a statement, provincial police searched his office for evidence.

Mr. Veasna said he met the 19-year-old on Facebook about a month ago and that the two quickly became close, adding that he was married, but no longer lived with his wife.

“We spent time together, we had meals together and looked after each other,” he said. “She accused me of rape. How could I do such a thing? We love each other.”

Asked about the case, provincial police chief Prak Vuthy said: “We are investigating,” refusing to answer further questions.

The alleged victim, a grade 12 student in neighboring Cholkiri district, on Tuesday said her relationship with Mr. Veasna was not romantic. She confirmed meeting him on Facebook, but said she thought of him as an uncle, adding that he even called her “niece.”

“On the day of the rape, I was at school, and about to visit my grandmother, who was sick,” she said.

“Then he [Mr. Veasna] called me several times,” she said. “He asked me whether I had a motorbike, but I said I could take a moto-taxi. He then asked me to go get his motorbike…and insisted on lending me his motorbike.”

“When I got there [the district police station], he told me to go to his room to get him his phone. I went to get it, and he followed me into the room, then raped me,” she said.

“He hit, slapped and twisted me. I couldn’t do anything because I’m just a girl,” she said, adding that he then told her that if she told any of her friends about what he had done, he would tell her parents about the rape himself, then shoot them dead, along with her siblings.

Contacted Tuesday afternoon, the young woman’s older brother said Mr. Veasna had been calling him all day, offering to pay his family to withdraw the rape complaint.

“He said he could take her as his wife or give us compensation to end the case,” the brother said.

“He called me several times to negotiate, but I stopped answering,” he added. “We can’t do that, because this concerns my sister’s honor. The suspect is still free, maybe because he’s a police officer.”

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