Girl Jumps From Motorcycle to Her Death

A 16-year-old girl jumped from a speeding motorcycle to her death in Battambang province Sunday night, after the driver claimed that he was taking the girl and her older sister to be raped, provincial police said.

Ly Rathana suffered serious head injuries and a broken neck after leaping from the motorcycle driven by a 23-year-old first-year student at a private university in Battambang town.

Battambang Deputy Judicial Police Chief Chea Thaun said Tuesday the student is in custody while police investigate.

However, the police chief said he did not believe the student really intended to rape the girls.

“I don’t think it is a rape case be­cause the victim knew the driver,” Chea Thaun said by telephone from Battambang. The student was only teasing the victim about his desire to rape her, the police chief said. “The girl was confused; that is why she jumped from the motorcycle,” he said.

Police said the victim and her older sister, Ly Vicheaca, accepted a ride from the student at 8 pm following a ceremony to inaugurate a new pagoda in Battambang town. Ly Vicheaca told police that her younger sister became frightened and jumped when the man driving them said he was going to rape them. They were also being followed by four other boys on another motorcycle, Ly Vicheaca said, according to police.

Battambang police denied the in­cident bore any similarity to recent reports of growing gang-rape attacks in Phnom Penh. The province was free of such incidents, police said.

The practice of rape has been the subject of both government and nongovernment reports recently. On Saturday, police arrested a 56-year-old man in Kom­pong Thom province for al­legedly attempting to rape a 14-year-old girl, Deputy Provincial Po­lice Chief Kim Ann said  Tuesday.

Sent to guard her family’s watermelon field in the province’s Stong district, the girl was sexually assaulted after seeking shelter from a rainstorm in the alleged perpetrator’s hut, the police chief said.

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