Suspects Sought in Phnom Penh Gang Rape

Police said yesterday they were searching for a group of men suspected of gang raping a 21-year-old woman on Monday in Phnom Penh’s Dangkao district.

Ol Phearun, deputy police chief of Choam Chao commune, said the woman was found in the commune on Tuesday morning by a motorist who spotted her sleeping under a tree as he passed. He said the woman was raped the night before in a field about 20 meters from the commune’s Phongro Bridge.

“The moto driver called police after the woman told the moto driver of the rape attack,” Mr Phearun said. “The victim did not have any energy and lost consciousness when police arrived.”

She was taken to a clinic where, Mr Phearun said, the woman told police that four men on motorcycles had accosted her as she walked to a friend’s house around 7:30 pm on Monday. She said one of the men hit her until she lost consciousness, Mr Phearun added.

The woman told police that at least three of the men raped her when she regained consciousness around 9 pm. However, Mr Phearun said the victim did not have bruises on her face and body after she was found.

The case is being investigated, Mr Phearun said, adding that police believed the suspects were in their 20s, and that one lived in Phnom Penh while the other three were believed to be from the countryside.

Choub Sok Heng, deputy district police chief, said he believed at least one of the suspects previously befriended the victim and caught her off-guard before knocking her unconscious.

“The victim was stunned and caught by the rapists’ motos immediately without yelling for help from the public,” Mr Heng said.

Am Sam Ath, technical monitoring supervisor for the human rights group Licadho, said Licadho recorded 15 gang rapes in the first eight months of 2009 and 19 gang rapes through the first eight months of this year.

“It is a big worry that gang rape is now increasing,” Mr Sam Ath said.


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