The 17-year-old son of a two-star RCAF general was arrested at Phnom Penh International Airport on Tuesday and charged Wednesday at the municipal court for allegedly raping a 15-year-old Cambodian girl in Kuala Lumpur, officials said.
Lieutenant General Thou Tharith, the father of the accused, said by telephone that his son had been dating the alleged victim for a long time. He also said the court must decide whether his son is guilty, but added that his son maintains his innocence and that the girl had traveled freely to visit him in Malaysia.
“The girl went to see my son by herself because they have been in love for many years,” Thou Tharith said, adding that his son is attending an international school in Kuala Lumpur. “My son confessed that they fell in love, but the girl told the court that my son raped her,” he said, adding that the alleged victim’s sister had advised her to tell the court that she had been raped.
Chan Madina, investigating judge for the municipal court, said the suspect was charged with rape and that the crime took place “in Malaysia at [a] hostel after he lured her by phone.”
Sok Sam Oeun, executive director of the Cambodian Defenders Project, said there is no legal basis for trying crimes committed outside of Cambodia in a Cambodian court.
“The Cambodian system has a territorial jurisdiction [which] only applies to crimes committed in Cambodia,” he said.