Police Search for More Suspects in Poipet City Gang Rape Case

Poipet City military police have arrested three men and are searching for two more for the gang rape of a 26-year-old woman on Wednesday, Poipet deputy military police commander Tam Bola said Friday.

“We have arrested three of them and are looking for the rest,” Mr Bola said, adding that the two remaining suspects have reportedly not fled Banteay Meanchey province because they don’t fear arrest.

They “did not flee because they think this [gang rape] is not serious and that no one would find out what happened,” Mr Bola said.

Poipet Military Police Commander Men Saron said the woman has alleged she was attacked by the group of men who had spent the evening at the karaoke parlor where she worked.

A parallel investigation into the crime is being conducted by local human rights group Adhoc, said Soum Chankea, the group’s provincial coordinator.

Mr Chankea said that the victim is claiming the son of the owner of the karaoke parlor where she worked as a waitress had initiated the attack.

In a recent groundbreaking report on the incidence and increase of rape in Cambodia, Amnesty International documented the difficulty women have in prosecuting their attackers.

The report, which was released in March, stated that rape may be on the rise and documentation remains poor, especially in regards to gang rape. Various forms of intimidation by suspects, the police or even family members keep victims from filing complaints, according to the report.

“We think most gang rape cases aren’t reported because of fear,” Pung Chhiv Kek, founder of local rights group Licadho, said on Friday.

“The suspects in this case probably didn’t run away because they thought it would not be reported,” Ms Kek said, adding that gang rapists are often young men who justify their crimes by saying they were led to carry out the attack after watching pornographic films.

“Many of these cases never go to court,” Ms Kek said.

“The suspects’ families will go to the victim’s family and offer them money to get rid of the complaint. Maybe they take it because court is long and winning is not guaranteed, and then the court sometimes doesn’t investigate even though this is illegal,” she said.


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