Police in Preah Sihanouk province are investigating the reported rape of a 28-year-old Irish tourist who told officers Thursday she was sexually assaulted sometime during the early morning hours, police said Sunday.
Tak Vantha, provincial police chief, said the victim was last seen leaving a bar at about 2 am Thursday with a man. Both, he said, reportedly appeared intoxicated. According to Tak Vantha, officers first learned of the crime at about 4 pm when the woman, whom he said look as if she was still drunk or drugged, came and reported the assault.
“When we interviewed her, she did not know where she got raped or how many rapists were involved. She was very drunk that night,” Tak Vantha said by telephone. When asked if the victim underwent a medical examination to check for injuries or collect evidence, he declined to comment and subsequently refused to answer any more questions.
Be Sovanna, provincial anti-human trafficking police chief, also declined to provide details about the attack, citing an ongoing investigation.
An official with an NGO based in Preah Sihanouk town confirmed the attack Sunday and said the victim had already returned home to Ireland. The official, who asked not to be named, said that as of Sunday no arrests had been announced.
Ken Puth, deputy provincial tourist police chief, said he found the woman at about 7 am Thursday at a construction site in Mittapheap district’s commune 4. She was reported missing, he said, when she did not return to her guesthouse that morning.
Workers sleeping near the site reportedly found the victim outside at about 3 am; she was crying and incoherent. A female worker there took pity on the woman, he said, and allowed her to sleep inside her tent near the construction site.
After she was found, Ken Puth said the woman, who was unable to speak with him, was taken back to her room. He added he was not aware the victim had been raped until she approached police later that day.
Reached Sunday by telephone, Elizabeth Evans, deputy chief of mission for the British Embassy, would only confirm that the embassy was providing service to an Irish national but declined to elaborate or comment further on the situation.
Bith Kimhong, director for the Interior Ministry’s anti-human trafficking department, said he knew few details about the case and urged tourists to exercise caution.
“Usually, crime exists in any country. I think [this one] will not affect the tourism industry,” he said Sunday. “Tourists themselves have to be careful, and they should not go alone to dangerous places.”
(Additional reporting by Frank Radosevich)