A 31-year-old farmer who was arrested in Takeo province over the weekend for allegedly raping three young girls in his village—one of them over the course of six months—was charged Tuesday by the provincial court and jailed, police officials said.
Hoeng Vanna was arrested at his home in Kiri Vong district’s Som commune on Sunday after the victims’ families filed a joint complaint with local police, according to Hun Hem, deputy chief of the provincial police’s serious crimes bureau.
“He had actually been raping one 10-year-old girl since the end of last year, but her parents didn’t know about it,” he said. “The case broke open after he raped two other girls last week.”
Mr. Hem said Mr. Vanna confessed to raping the girls, aged 10 and 11, during his interrogation at provincial police headquarters on Monday.
Mr. Vanna’s alleged victims told police that he had raped them behind their houses in broad daylight while their parents were away tending to their crops, he said.
The children also said the farmer threatened to kill them if they told anyone about what he had done.
“All of the girls were completely silent and could not tell anyone because he said that if they told their parents he would cut their throat or strangle them,” said district penal police chief Hem Sihak Bora.
He said that because Mr. Vanna had so effectively silenced his victims—their parents only grew wise to his actions after noticing that their daughters were regularly bleeding from their genitals—his officers were in the process of searching his village for more possible victims.
“We are still investigating to find out whether any more girls in the village were raped,” he said. “It’s very difficult for us to find victims because girls are so scare about this kind of thing.”
Mr. Sihak Bora said Mr. Vanna’s neighbors were shocked to learn about the rape allegations, describing the farmer as a “gentleman.”
“If the case had not broken open, maybe the villagers would still believe he is a good man,” he said.
Mr. Hem said Mr. Vanna was charged with rape of a minor at the Takeo Provincial Court on Tuesday afternoon, then sent to the provincial prison to await trial.