Officials on Thursday said they were still investigating the kidnapping and rape of a 17-year-old student that took place earlier this week, but noted that people should take care not to put themselves in potentially dangerous situations.
Khuong Sreng, governor of Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district, said that by parking in a dark and largely deserted area, the victim–who was violently abducted on Sunday night and driven from the capital to Kompong Speu province where she was raped and then robbed while her 4-year-old-neice sat in the car–created an opportunity for the crime to occur.
“She parked the car in a dark place which was so far from others, and left the keys in the car because she wanted to listen to music while she was waiting,” said Mr Sreng, adding that there are police stationed in Sen Sok district but that they cannot keep constant watch on every movement.
“I do not blame this on the victim,” he said yesterday. “But the criminals are lying in wait in order to make any crime if there is an opportunity.”
“I would like to call the people to be careful,” he added.
San Arun, secretary of state at the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, said yesterday that while she didn’t know the details of the crime, it is important to stay vigilant.
“It is difficult to say it is her fault, but she should be careful with herself. Even myself, I lock the door, I try to be very careful,” she said.
Kompong Speu provincial penal police chief Svay Yoeun said yesterday that police are working to track down the three suspects.
“We have some clues for the perpetrators. They are not local targets but outsiders,” he said, declining to provide more detail on the confidential investigation.
Peanratha Manith, senior child rights monitor for Licadho, said yesterday that he just received the case and was working on an investigation as well.
“The area is so quiet, which can provide lots of opportunity to commit the crime,” he said. But, he added, “the victim is already suffering. If we put any blame on her it would make her feel like no one takes care of her.”
(Additional reporting by Abby Seiff)