A farmer was arrested in Pursat province on Sunday for raping a 10-year-old girl who was out walking with her 8-year-old sister, police said on Monday.
The suspect, Bor Sathoeun, 29, has since confessed to the crime and will be sent the provincial court today, officials added.
The rape occurred in Krakor district’s Chhoeu Tom commune at about 10:30 a.m., according to district police chief Em Ron.
“The victim and her 8-year-old sister were minding their family’s water buffaloes in the bushes not far from their village,” Mr. Ron said.
According to a police report, Mr. Sathoeun approached the sisters and asked them if they had seen two people pass by. When the 10-year-old said no, the farmer stripped off her clothes and raped her as the 8-year-old ran home for help, the report says.
When Mr. Sathoeun left, the victim walked home alone and her mother reported the incident to commune police, the report says.
Using a description of the suspect provided by the girl, police rounded up two suspects in the space of an hour, Mr. Ron said.
“She was confused at first,” he said, and identified the wrong suspect. But then “the victim identified the rape suspect for the police, who arrested him.”
Mr. Ron said it was fortunate that Mr. Sathoeun chose not to kill the 10-year-old after raping her. Had the suspect been known to the girl’s family, the police chief added, he might have done so.
“The victim could have been killed if they were neighbors, to hide the evidence,” he said.
Tan Seihak Dechak, chief prosecutor at the Pursat Provincial Court, said Mr. Sathoeun would be questioned at the court today. He was detained on Monday night at the provincial police station, according to Mr. Ron.
Eng Chhun Han, provincial coordinator for rights group Licadho, said he was planning to visit the girl’s family tomorrow to arrange both legal and medical assistance.
“I will visit the victim’s family…to monitor how seriously the victim was abused physically and psychologically,” he said.