After evading authorities for more than two weeks, a vegetable farmer in Oddar Meanchey province was jailed on rape charges on Tuesday for assaulting his 9-year-old neighbor on multiple occasions, police said.
Sinh Chamroeun, 57, was arrested in Samraong City’s Konkriel commune on Sunday afternoon in response to a complaint filed with police by the child’s mother on June 16, according to commune police chief Path Kim.
“After the mother filed the complaint, the suspect escaped and went to work in the fields [elsewhere] and never went home,” Mr. Kim said, adding that commune police had put Mr. Chamroeun’s home under surveillance but never saw him approach the residence.
“We deployed our agents to look for him, but did not see him,” he said. “If we knew where he was, we would have arrested him immediately…. That’s why it took so long.”
Officers finally apprehended the farmer in the area using special skills, Mr. Kim said, refusing to detail the location or circumstances of the arrest.
Mann Thot, deputy chief of Samraong City’s serious crimes police, said the suspect was transferred to the city police station on Monday morning and confessed to raping the girl six times over the course of several months, both inside his house and in the forest behind it.
“Children would go to play at his house and he would chase them back home,” Mr. Thot said, citing interviews with the suspect, the victim and the victim’s family.
“The girl would come back alone,” he said, adding that on one occasion a few months ago, before the abuse began, “he joked, ‘If you don’t go home, be careful or I will rape you.’”
Mr. Kim, the commune police official, said the girl began acting strangely in the days before the mother filed the complaint.
“The girl went to the bathroom frequently and scratched her genitals often…and, secondly, she often held money in her hand,” he said, adding that the parents believed the last rape took place on June 13.
The victim’s father said on Tuesday that his daughter told him about the latest assault when he confronted her about her unusual behavior.
“I thought she was acting abnormally and asked her about it. Then she told me she was raped,” he said. “I was very disappointed and I did not expect he would do this to my daughter.”
Mr. Chamroeun was charged with aggravated rape at the Oddar Meanchey Provincial Court on Tuesday, then sent to prison to await trial.