An 11-year-old girl was allegedly raped, murdered and left hanging from a window in an attempt to make the death appear to be a suicide in Siem Reap province on Saturday, police said. Siem Reap provincial police chief Doung Sokha said yesterday that the girl was alone at home in Puok district at the time of the attack.
When her aunt returned home from the market, she found her niece hanging in the window from a television cable.
A 25-year-old neighbour, Sor Kosal, responded to the aunt’s cries and cut down the girl, but was subsequently declared a suspect and arrested.
“We thought where and how the victim was hanging was suspicious. We took the victim to be tested . . . and we found the victim was raped,” Sokha said. “We concluded this was not a case of suicide; it was rape and murder.”
“The auntie saw her niece was hanged so she called for help, and suddenly the suspect ran to the scene and cut the cord on the window. We arrested the suspect at the scene.”
Local police were working with the Child Protection Unit (CPU) to collect DNA evidence at the crime scene.
According to the CPU’s annual figures, Siem Reap recorded the highest number of serious crimes against children – including gang rape and murder – last year, with 39, closely followed by Battambang with 33.
But CPU director of operations James McCabe said yesterday that both provinces had a “phenomenal” arrest rate, at 90 per cent, and said a number of factors contributed to the rates of rape across the Kingdom – from isolation, to poor education, to pornography and a lack of services for the mentally ill.
“Siem Reap is a facade. Behind all the motels and it looking quite wealthy, there’s an extreme amount of poverty,” he said.
In a separate incident on Saturday, in Prey Veng’s Peamro district, 35-year-old Sovann Vun was arrested for the alleged repeated rape of his 14-year-old daughter, according to Prek Khsay Khor commune police chief Ath Orn.
“The daughter told the mother that the father had raped her. The mother was quiet and did not report it, but villagers reported it to our police,” he said.
“If we had not arrived in time, the villagers would have killed him. They said he was an animal.”
Vun reportedly confessed to the rape, but claimed he was “so drunk”, police said.