A 25-year-old taxi driver from Kompong Thom province was arrested Saturday after a thwarted attempt to rape a British female tourist he was driving to Kratie province, police said Monday.
Nim Bunthan was arrested after a short chase by police in Kratie’s Chhlong district after the 24-year-old tourist told police he tried to rape her, said Huot Lim Heang, chief of the provincial police’s serious crimes bureau.
“After we received the report, I ordered the police to stop his van along the way in Chhlong district as he was speeding in his van to flee,” he said. “We arrested him at 3:20 p.m. on the same day [as the attempted rape].”
Mr. Lim Heang, who is leading the investigation, said the woman had gotten into Mr. Bunthan’s taxi van earlier in the afternoon in Tbong Khmum province’s Suong City, and ended up as the last person in the vehicle.
“Before the incident, the English woman had traveled from Suong City with several other passengers, but those passengers had stopped and gone to their houses” along the way between Suong and Kratie, he explained.
According to the police official, it was then that Mr. Bunthan drove his van into the forest along National Road 7 in Chet Borei district, about halfway between the two well-populated cities, and attempted to rape her.
“When he arrived in Chet Borei district, he took the woman about 50 meters into the forest and attempted to rape her,” Mr. Lim Heang said. “He kissed her mouth and removed her clothes, but the victim fought back.”
“She cried and pled with the suspect not to rape her, and [said] she would withdraw her money from an ATM machine when they arrived in the city,” he added.
“It’s a fortunate story, with the suspect accepting to bring her to the destination, and I understand that the suspect thought she would not file a complaint against him.”
Mr. Lim Heang said that as soon as the woman arrived in Kratie, she saw a restaurant with other foreigners and exited the van on the pretense of withdrawing money, before explaining her situation to the other tourists. The tourists helped her locate local police, and Mr. Bunthan fled.
“When she arrived in the city, she came to file complaints to the tourist police, who informed my bureau,” Mr. Lim Heang added. “He already confessed. Tomorrow we will send him to the provincial court to be charged.”