Three Arrested in Rape, Murder of Pursat Girls

Three men have been arrested in connection with the rape and brutal murder of two young girls in Pursat province’s Krakor district in January, a crime that shocked the country, police said.

Suspects Sen Duoch, 37, and Man Sophear, 21, were arrested Thursday and Friday respectively for the rape and murder of cousins Nai Vinn, 11, and Phal Sophoeun, 14, said Meas Mol, deputy chief of provincial police’s serious crime office. A third suspect Phoeurn Ra, 31, was arrested Tuesday in connection with the double rape and murder and also for another attempted rape of an 18-year-old woman in Svay Sar commune’s Boeng Smuk village, the home village of the two slain girls, Meas Mol said.

Villagers found the two girls brutally mutilated and strung from a tree in Svay Sar commune on Jan 7, two days after they went missing, he said.

All three men lived in the same village with their victims, he said.

Pursat Provincial Court Judge Duch Chantha issued four warrants in the case, said Soeun Sopheak, chief of the serious crime office. He would not reveal the name of the fourth suspect, who police are still hunting for.

“They raped and killed two young girls and created a terrible, historic event, which is why my police have tried their best to arrest those cruel rapists,” he said.

The arrests will please villagers and act as a deterrent for such awful crimes, he said.

Ngeth Theavy, provincial coordinator for the rights group Adhoc, struck a cautious note on Friday, saying the arrests might be to merely quell outrage over the crimes which shocked the community.

However, “If the arrests have been made on the right criminals with enough evidence and investigation, I applaud the hard work the police have done,” he said.

Adhoc, he added, plans to conduct an investigation of its own into the suspects.

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