Three Men, One Youth Arrested In Separate Rape, Murder Cases

A teenage boy was arrested in Kompong Chhnang province on Saturday for the rape and murder of a mentally ill woman, while three men were arrested the same day in Kompong Cham province for gangraping and murdering a woman, authorities said Sunday.

In Kompong Chhnang, police found the battered body of 34-year-old Chom Kosal on Saturday morning in Rolea Ba’ier district’s Chrey Bakk commune. Later that day, they arrested a 17-year-old boy suspected of having raped the victim, beaten her with his belt, strangled her to death and then left her body facedown in a large puddle of rainwater, according to deputy provincial police chief Pol Vuthy.

“The body was covered in bruises, and we concluded that the victim had been tortured and raped,” he said. “The suspect confessed that he raped, tortured and murdered her.”

Mr. Vuthy said the alleged rapist was being questioned by police and would be sent to the provincial court today to face charges.

Commune police chief Sam Sokha said the victim had descended into severe mental illness after the death of her daughter four years ago, and by the time of her death had become dependent on begging.

Mr. Sokha said the suspect was apparently drunk on Friday night when he spotted the victim making her way along the road.

“He was so drunk and he saw that it was quiet, so he took the opportunity to rape her,” he said.

The victim in Kompong Cham, Sok Kim Sru, 22, was found with her throat cut in a rice field in Choeung Prey district’s Trapaing Kor commune on October 24, said district police chief Heng Vuthy.

“The rapists may have known the victim,” Mr. Vuthy said.

Following a week of investigation, military police arrested three suspects on Saturday and are currently questioning them, according to deputy provincial military police commander Men Bunnrith, who said he could not provide the suspected rapists’ names or ages because he did not have the information at hand.

Rights group Licadho has recorded 14 rape-murder cases so far this year in the 14 provinces it monitors, up from 11 cases during the same period last year, according to Am Sam Ath, the group’s technical supervisor.

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