Eight Men Gang Rape Woman, Three Arrested

Police on Wednesday arrested three men accused of gang raping an 18-year-old woman in Banteay Meanchey province on Friday night, while five other suspects in the rape are still at large.

Pe Bonchong, the deputy military police chief in Malai district, said that his team had begun to investigate the crime after a complaint filed by the victim with rights group Adhoc on Monday was forwarded to military police.

“We have arrested three suspects, but are still searching for the others who were involved in the gang rape of an 18-year-old woman,” Mr. Bonchong said.

He said military police arrested 18-year-old suspect Rith Sopheap on Monday, followed by Nhim Thnou and Khuon Vuthi Sen, both 19, on Tuesday, but were still searching for five other suspects alleged to have been involved in the gang rape.

“We arrested the three suspects at their homes and are searching to arrest the other suspects who were involved with the rape,” Mr. Bonchong said, adding that all three had admitted to the crime.

They are to be sent to the provincial court today, where they will be charged, he said.

The victim told police she was driving home from a pagoda ceremony on Friday when her motorcycle broke down, forcing her to dismount and walk home alone at about 10:30 p.m.

Mr. Sopheap, who police said was also the victim’s boyfriend, walked by and grabbed her, covering her mouth. He dragged her into the grounds of a local primary school and raped her.

He then “called his friends and nearly 10 people came and raped her, one by one,” Mr. Bonchong said.

Say Kim, Tuol Pongro commune deputy police chief, said the victim testified that Mr. Sopheap had promised to marry her if she swore not to speak of the rape or file any official complaint against him—a proposal she initially accepted to maintain her dignity.

“Initially, the victim agreed to the suspect’s proposition, which was that he would marry her if she didn’t press any charges to escape the shame of being raped,” Mr. Kim said.

However, she changed her mind and went ahead with filing a complaint on Monday, he said.

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