Girl Remains at Radio Station as Abuse Complaint Lodged

A Phnom Penh radio station caring for a 10-year-old girl who reportedly suffered extensive abuse at the hands of her great-aunt filed a complaint against the woman on Friday and has no plans of returning the child to her custody, a station official said.

ABC Radio took the girl into its care on Friday after police in Pur Senchey district’s Choam Chao commune left her with her great-aunt—despite the station’s tip-off about the abuse and the woman’s admission under questioning that she had beaten the child. Investigators found with fresh wounds and bruises on the girl’s body.

Chhel Sovannara, an ABC employee, said on Sunday that the station had filed an official complaint with municipal military police, accusing Sok Phally, 50, of intentional violence with aggravated circumstances. An ABC listener who initially called in the abuse said the girl was beaten with an electrical cord and a stick.

“Yesterday, we brought her to the National Pediatric and Kantha Bopha hospitals…to scan her skull and her whole body, and we paid for her treatment,” Mr. Sovannara said, adding that the scans showed that the girl had been badly beaten and was malnourished.

“She was seriously abused, like her skull had been smashed against a hard object but not split,” he said. “On her ribcage, there was serious bruising, and we also found this on her back.”

Mr. Sovannara said doctors had prepared a medical report, which ABC forwarded to military police.

Phan Daravuth, deputy commander of the municipal military police, confirmed that his unit had received the ABC complaint but referred questions about the case to another deputy commander, Khen Sovann.

Reached by telephone, Mr. Sovann declined to comment.

“Are you the court? Then you could ask me about this,” he said, before hanging up on a reporter.

According to Mr. Sovannara, the girl will remain in ABC’s care as the station weighs its options, including transferring her into the care of an NGO.

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