Licadho Joins Search for Girl in Police Rape Case

Local rights group Licadho is preparing to distribute photos of a 12-year-old girl who was allegedly raped by three police officers in November and who has been missing from her Siem Reap pro­vince home for several weeks.

Licadho officials collected a photo of the girl from her mother in Siem Reap district’s Kok Chak commune Wednesday and will distribute the photo to Licadho’s provincial offices in a bid to locate the girl, Teang Chansopheap, a rape victim counselor for the rights group, said Thursday.

Teang Chansopheap said Lica­dho is uncertain of where the girl could be. “We are not hopeless even though we do not have any clues yet,” she said.

Police and rights workers have accused Kok Chak commune police officers Neang Sam Simeth and Kong Sokun, and provincial intervention police officer Lach Vicheka of raping the girl—who had run away from home—over a three-day period. The suspects have since fled the area.

Provincial Court Investigating Judge Sous La said arrest warrants for the three officers have still not been issued because the girl has yet to testify in court.

“The victim is the most important witness for us to issue the arrest warrants,” he said. “We are waiting for the girl to appear in court.”

The girl left home once again Jan 10 and has not been seen since, her 21-year-old sister said by telephone.

The sister said this is the fifth time the girl has run away since she was assaulted, but that she has never stayed away for so long before.

“We are trying to find her every day and everywhere in Siem Reap, but now we are hopeless,” the girl’s sister said. The family has not reported the disappearance to the police, she added.

“I am afraid that the police would cause a problem with my sister or take revenge on my family,” she said.

Sun Bunthang, provincial anti-human trafficking police chief, said police are unaware of the girl’s disappearance, but will try to find her if they receive an official request.

Kong Proloeng, Prasat Bokong deputy governor and father of suspect Kong Sokun, said he did not know the whereabouts of his son.

“I do not want my son arrested. I still want to compromise with the family,” he said.

(Additional reporting by Lor Chandara)

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