Police: Thais Will Help in Rape Investigation

Banteay Meanchey provincial police claimed Tuesday that Thai border security officials have promised to cooperate in an investigation of the alleged rape of a 14-year-old girl on Friday after she illegally crossed the Thai border.

Chuon Vath, chief of Banteay Meanchey province’s Anti-Traf­ficking and Juvenile Protec­tion Bureau, said Tuesday the attack took place when the girl and two friends crossed the border at Poi­pet to buy goods in a Thai market.

According to Chuon Vath, the girl’s companions fled back to Cambodia and an employee of an unidentified NGO crossed back into Thailand and allegedly saw the attack.

The victim was taken to the Banteay Meanchey provincial office of the Cambodian Wo­men’s Crisis Center and staff there delivered the girl to police Monday afternoon, she said.

The girl should have been taken directly to police, said Chuon Vath. He said the delay could hamper the investigation.

“Now the evidence has been destroyed, although we have an eyewitness. Therefore, we will need time to investigate the case,” Chuon Vath said.

Thai military police officials have promised to cooperate, and agreed to order a lineup of their border guards to see if the girl can identify her assailant, O’Chrou District Police Chief Nuth Ly said Tuesday.

Moung Mearedey, CWCC project coordinator for Banteay Meanchey, declined to comment  Tuesday.

Songchai Chaipatiyut, second secretary at the Thai Embassy, said Tuesday he had heard of the rape allegation but had not re­ceived an official report.

“What we need to do now is investigate and clarify on this case because our nation never welcomes such crimes,” he said.

On Tuesday, International Children’s Day, local rights group Licadho decried the increasing trafficking and sexual exploitation of Cambodia’s youths.

“Reported cases continue to increase and, most worryingly, the victims seem to be getting younger and younger,” Licadho President Kek Galabru said in a statement.

The percentage of rape victims under 18, among cases recorded by Licadho, has increased steadily since 1999, with attacks on minors accounting for 60 percent of rapes in that year and 2000.

Victims under 18 accounted for 62 percent of 2001’s rapes. In both 2002 and 2003, the tally climbed to 69 percent.

More than 40 percent of rape and indecent assault victims in 2002 and 2003 were under 12, Licadho said.

 

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