Nine Arrested Over Gang Rape of Woman

Eight men who allegedly took turns raping a 20-year-old woman in a forest in Kompong Chhnang province were arrested Wednesday, while a ninth man was arrested Thursday for attempted rape, police said.

“Eight men raped her, taking turns, for about 30 minutes,” said Hul Veasna, chief of police in Kompong Tralach district, where the alleged gang rape took place.

According to Mr. Veasna, one of the eight, Tith Po, 20, began dialing random phone numbers on November 5 in the hope of reaching a woman willing to speak with him. A 19-year-old woman finally answered and the two spent the next two weeks talking on the phone, Mr. Veasna said.

On Wednesday, the young woman agreed to meet Mr. Po in person, he said.

Accompanied by five other men, Mr. Veasna said, Mr. Po met the 19-year-old outside the garment factory where she worked at about 4 p.m. The woman asked to bring two female friends along with her—one of whom was the 20-year-old victim in the case—and the group then drove to the nearby Chan Kiek lake, he said.

The police chief said that after a few hours at the lake, three more men joined the group.

“The victim became worried and asked the suspects to drive her home,” said Mr. Veasna. “[The men] wanted to stay longer, but she said she would walk home if she wasn’t driven.”

At this point, Mr. Veasna said, the group split up, with the victim hopping on a motorbike with Sa El, 19, and Ly Vanny, 20. They drove her to a forested area, where they were joined, once again, by the other men.

“The suspects muzzled the victim’s mouth and pulled her off the bike,” he said, adding that the men proceeded to rape her over the next half hour.

The other two women were driven around aimlessly by Ly Khek, 18, who is accused of attempted rape, but they eventu- ally demanded to know where their friend was, Mr. Veasna said. Mr. Khek then drove them to the scene of the rape, where the victim was found naked and crying, her eight attackers sitting around her, he said.

The men then drove all three women to the victim’s house, Mr. Veasna said, where the trio told the victim’s mother what had happened. The mother then contacted the commune police, who cooperated with district police to make the arrests, he said.

“When they were arrested, they thought they could pay police and the case would go away,” Mr. Veasna said, adding that all nine men are being held at the provincial police headquarters.

Provincial police chief Prak Vuthy said he had encountered sim- ilar cases before in which wom-   en have been targeted by men through random telephone calls.

“These cases are unbelievable,” provincial police chief Prak Vuthy said Thursday. “The victims are foolish and don’t think about the consequences.”

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