A 79-year-old Buddhist nun recovering from a stroke was raped at a Phnom Penh pagoda on Monday night, the woman’s neighbors said Thursday.
Ly Lieng, who lives at Uddom Ravatei pagoda in the capital’s Russei Keo district, was allegedly attacked by a gang of young men who also stole her fan, neighbors said.
Approached by a reporter Thursday, Ly Lieng, who cannot speak due to her pre-existing medical condition, held up three fingers up when asked how many men were involved in the attack on Monday night.
Her neighbor Mao Chantha, 45, said she had found the elderly woman naked and injured when she went to care for her on Tuesday morning.
“With my own eyes, I saw her naked and with swollen wounds where she had been raped,” Ms Chantha said Thursday. “The police officers said that the victim just exaggerated [the attack], and I asked them to find justice.”
Another neighbor, Van Narath, 25, said she had examined Ly Lieng’s wounds.
“I asked the police officers to arrest the suspects as soon as possible,” Ms Narath said.
Russei Keo commune police chief Sun Chan Nareth said Thursday that police had not yet identified any suspects in the case and were not yet investigating the rape report.
“This is a fresh case we are investigating…. We have identified that a fan was stolen from the scene,” Mr Nareth said, adding that the victim had not wanted male police to inspect her body.
“The victim just expressed body language and didn’t let us examine her. So I could not get any detail in that case yet,” he said of the reported rape.
Ny Lyheng, a monitor for the human-rights group Adhoc, said that investigators had tried to interview the victim but that she could not speak.
“We went to see her at the scene and could not interview the victim but the rape did happen,” Mr Lyheng said. “The authorities must pay attention in that case and make a case for arresting suspects,” he said.