Three suspects have been identified in the January rape and murder of two young girls in Pursat pro-vince and will be arrested as soon as the court issues a warrant, police said Wednesday.
The three men live in a village nearby the victims’ village and were identified by witness statements, said Len Song, the new Krakor district police chief, who arrived there earlier this month from Sampov Meas district.
“We have already identified the suspects, and we have requested an arrest warrant from the court,” he said, declining to provide more details.
Nai Vinn, 11, and Phal Sophoeun, 14, were brutally beaten, raped and murdered before being hung from a tree in the forest near their village of Boeng Smuk on Jan 6. Only cursory forensic examinations were done before the bodies were cremated, leaving little hope that the culprits would be caught.
“I contacted the prosecutor in the last few days, and he said he had seen the request and pushed the process forward,” provincial police chief Sarun Chanthy said Wednes-day. Pursat prosecutor Top Chan-sereivuth declined to comment.
Contacted by telephone, Phal Sophoeun’s brother-in-law, Oeun Nak, 30, welcomed the breakthrough in the case.
“I very much appreciate it be-cause we always worry about the possibility of the next rape,” he said.
“We will not worry anymore if police arrest the perpetrators. And villagers will be pleased,” he said, explaining that one in 10 girls in the village no longer attend school be-cause their parents keep them at home for fear of falling victim to the rapists.
Former district police chief Ben Vanna also had announced the imminent arrest of three suspects two weeks after the crime, but it came to nothing.
There is a risk the police could have rushed to get suspects to close the case, said Ngeth Thavy, the provincial coordinator for local rights group Adhoc.
The crime received considerable media attention and prompted more than 600 Cambodians to sign a petition urging the government to do more to catch the perpetrators.
of the crime.
“If the police have the evidence or witness to capture the real suspect, we, the civil society, are appreciative,” she said.