Police Commissioner Asked To Fire Rape Suspect Last Week

Phnom Penh Municipal Gover­nor Kep Chuktema sent a letter to National Police Commissioner Neth Savoeun last week, asking him to fire an officer accused of raping a 19-year-old woman on Oct 31 in a karaoke parlor, officials said yesterday.

Police officer Uong Dara, 43, is accused of raping a 19-year-old while security guard Chan Narith, 50, allegedly held her down. Phnom Penh police chief Touch Naruth said Wednesday that the two suspects were sent to the municipal court on Tuesday, but the chief clerk for the prosecution claimed the two men had not arrived.

“I feel ashamed to have such a police officer,” Mr Chuktema said by telephone yesterday of Mr Dara. “Just re-education is not enough. He must be fired.”

“I believe my district governors and the lower-level officials that reported to me about this crime,” he added.

Mr Chuktema said that he had no information as to the whereabouts of Mr Dara.

“Maybe he has gone into hiding otherwise he would be arrested,” he added.

National Police spokesman Kirth Chantharith confirmed that he received the governor’s request and would pass it on to Mr Savoeun.

However, Mr Chantharith said that he had no information on the case, other than what has been re­port­ed by the press, “because I have not received a report from [Mr Naruth].”

“I am not aware of [the alleged rapist’s] whereabouts either,” he added before referring questions to Mr Naruth, who could not be reach­ed for comment.

Reached yesterday, Prak Sa­vouth, chief clerk for the prosecution at the municipal court, reiterated that the two suspects were not at the court.

The two police officers allegedly raped the 19-year-old from Kom­pong Cham, who was visiting her sister in the capital for the water festival, while she was helping out at the Meanchey district karaoke parlor, where her sister worked, on Oct 31.

Last week, Mr Naruth said it was unlikely the two men would be taken to court because the victim was not a virgin and was paid $250 compensation on Nov 1.

The alleged victim fled after receiving the money and has yet to be found.

Am Sam Ath, senior monitor for human rights group Lichadho, said he has been trying to track down the woman and though he has received tips that she is in Battam­bang province’s Bavel district, he has not found her.

“Very often in numerous rape cases committed by police officers, we have noticed that the police are mostly compensating the victims and punished with administrative measures,” he said. “In particular, they are never arrested and sent to court for prosecution.”

 

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