THE trial of seven men charged with the gang rape and murder of a 13-year-old girl last Saturday in Kampong Cham province is set to begin today. The men, all from Vihear Loung district, Soung village, have been held at the Soung police station since their arrest on Sunday, one day after the alleged attack took place.
Soung village police Chief Leang Eng told the Post on Tuesday that the victim lived in the same neighbourhood as her attackers. One of the men in custody had apparently fallen in love with the girl, Leang Eng said, but felt he was unable to marry her because he was too poor. On the day of the attack, the man asked her to accompany him for a walk in the woods. It was there, only 200 metres from her home, Leang Eng said, that the six additional men sprung upon her.
“They raped her one by one at the time until she fell unconscious. Then they killed her by stabbing her with a knife 12 times in the back before finally slitting her throat,” Leang Eng said, adding that the girl’s body was found by her own family a day later.
“This is truly the cruellest case I have ever seen. I never thought anyone was capable of this. They must not feel any pity in their heart. They treated her like an animal that could be killed at any time.”
Leang Eng said the victims’ parents were grief-stricken at the loss of their only daughter and seeking harsh punishments for those responsible.
Thov Chenda, a provincial monitor for local rights group Adhoc, voiced concern about the increasing incidence of rape in Kampong Cham. “The government should educate people in rural areas about law and morality,” she said. According to a recent Adhoc report, there have been 15 cases of rape in Kampong Cham province so far this year.