Rights workers are investigating the murder of a 19-year-old prostitute last week as part of a continuing pattern of prostitutes being slain with impunity by well-connected brothel owners or customers.
Chan Soveth, spokesman for local human rights group Adhoc, said Sunday the latest killing is the fourth case he is aware of recently in which prostitutes had died at the hands of either customers or brothel owners.
“The main problem is the brothel owners have high-ranking officials behind them,” Chan Soveth said.
“They know clearly about the law and have money to bring to the court and police. The perpetrators are never charged,” Chan Soveth said.
An international rights group also is investigating the murder.
Police said Sunday they are continuing to hunt for the Phnom Penh brothel owner who allegedly strangled Kim Ly to death last week for refusing to sleep with customers.
Touch Sarin, police chief of Srah Chak commune, Don Penh district, said the woman was murdered in a brothel on Street 70—a notorious red-light area ringing the city’s outskirts—because she had fallen in love with a man and would no longer sleep with customers.
“Kim Ly was strangled to death by the brothel owner. On that night Kim Ly was visited by her boyfriend and later refused to serve clients,” said Touch Sarin. He said he believed the suspect is a soldier who apparently has fled Phnom Penh.
Municipal Court Deputy Prosecutor Ngeth Sareth said Sunday that a warrant for the arrest of the brothel owner was issued Friday.
He said that the body of the murdered girl was removed from the brothel and dumped in a market in the Meanchey district of Phnom Penh.
“She was found by residents and rushed to Preah Sihanouk Hospital, but she was already dead,” said Ngeth Sareth.