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Man charged with raping and killing 9-year-old girl

KAMPONG Speu provincial court has charged a 29-year-old man with raping and killing a 9-year-old girl in Samrong Tong district’s Sendey commune, police said Tuesday.

Hun Cheub was arrested Sunday and sent to prison on Monday after he confessed to raping the victim, who was his second cousin, district deputy police chief Hem Phan said, adding that the incident took place on February 13 as the victim walked home alone from a village dance.

“It was a secluded area on her way home, prompting the suspect to take the opportunity to rape her,” he said. “The suspect knew the girl would try to escape from his hands, and he held her neck tight under his armpit so she could not resist. She died instantly.”

The victim’s face was pierced with barbed bamboo as she was dragged to a nearby forest, where police later found her body, he said.

The suspect has been convicted of previous violent crimes, for which he spent time in Kampong Cham province prison, Hem Phan said.

“He was in a gang and had committed many crimes – once he was sentenced to three years in prison,” he said.

But An Phin, a monitor for the rights group Adhoc in Kampong Speu, said his organisation is still investigating the case because he believes there might have been more than one person involved in the attack.

In its annual report released early this year, Adhoc found that the percentage of reported rape victims who were children had increased in 2009 compared with the previous year – climbing to 78.2 percent from 67 percent in 2008.

Out of the 460 rape cases received by Adhoc last year, 66 were mediated at local police stations and concluded with the payment of compensation, resulting in an absence of criminal charges.

Hem Phan said there had been only one rape case in Samrong Tong district in 2009. The victim in that case was 18. “For many cases of rape, suspects are relatives or neighbors of victims,” he added.

Adhoc could not provide statistics on reported child rapes for the month of January.

Hun Cheub’s trial date has not yet been set.

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