Man arrested in Pursat over gang rape of 17-Year-Old

A 19-year-old man was arrested yesterday in Pursat province for taking part in the alleged gang rape of a 17-year-old disabled girl, while two other suspects remain at large.

After his arrest yesterday morning, Phun Tith, 19, allegedly confessed to gang raping the 17-year-old along with two suspects in their early twenties near Koh Keo pagoda in Bakan district’s Trapaing Chong commune on Friday night, district police chief Pen Tum said.

“The three suspects raped the victim because they were drunk that evening…. The girl was raped down the lane by the pagoda’s gate,” Mr Tum said, noting the forested area was dark.

Mr Tum said police had forwarded the case to Pursat Provincial Court, and that he expected Mr Tith would be charged with rape today.

Nget Theavy, provincial investigator for rights group Adhoc, said that she took the injured victim to the provincial referral hospital on Saturday.

“This is a very serious case. They used force to rape her,” Ms Theavy said.

In a separate case, Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Sunday charged a 29-year-old man with allegedly raping a 5-year-old girl onboard a tourist boat in the capital, police said.

Tourist boat worker Sam Neang allegedly raped the girl on Thursday afternoon in Phnom Penh’s Daun Penh district’s Wat Phnom commune and was arrested the same day after her mother filed a complaint, according to commune police chief Un Sam Ath.

“The suspect confessed to raping the five-year-old girl…. He raped her when she was on the tourist boat alone,” Mr Sam Ath said.

Phnom Penh Municipal Court charged Mr Neang yesterday with the rape of a child, according to deputy district police chief Em Saroeurn.

Adhoc recorded 167 child rape cases during the first half of the year and since June, The Cambodia Daily has reported on eighteen.

Although sexual violence can stem from many factors, perhaps the single biggest in Cambodia is impunity, said Christian Guth, technical adviser to Law Enforcement Against Sexual Abuse, Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking of Children, an Interior Ministry project run with support by the UN and several NGOs.

“In Cambodia, I’d say the biggest problem is impunity…. Most people are not heavily charged and punished,” Mr Guth said, noting that officials blaming rape on pornography or alcohol is too simplistic.

However, Interior Ministry spokesperson Lieutenant-General Khieu Sopheak rejected the assertion that impunity contributed to child rape cases, pointing to recent criticism by NGOs that Cambodian prisons are overcrowded.

“If we had impunity, then we would have no prisoners in jail,” he said, noting that he did not have figures to comment on criminal trends.


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