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Six handcuffed suspects stand with police in Por Sen Chey district on Wednesday after they were arrested for the rape and murder of a prostitute.
Six handcuffed suspects stand with police in Por Sen Chey district on Wednesday after they were arrested for the rape and murder of a prostitute. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Six held in brutal rape, murder

Six men accused of raping and murdering a sex worker then dumping her body near a pagoda on Sunday night in the capital’s Por Sen Chey district have been arrested.

Por Sen Chey district police chief Yem Saran said that all six of the men, grabbed in Kakab commune’s Trapieng Lavear village on Wednesday afternoon, following an investigation, have already been interrogated and will be sent to court today.

“All six suspects raped the victim, and they helped each other kill the victim by strangulation,” he said.

“They killed her because they became furious after the victim threatened to report them to the police.

But further investigation depends on the procedure of the court.”

Saran said that according to the suspects’ statements, at about 8 or 9pm, suspects Chin Navy, 29, and Morm Vanan, 20, rode a motorbike to procure a prostitute near the Bopha Shop, located in Tanguon village in Kakab commune.

They negotiated a price of $10 for one person, and took the woman back to their construction site at Trapieng village.

However, after the customer had concluded intercourse, another five men entered and proceeded to rape the woman.

The police chief said that after the incident, the sex worker attempted to demand payment from the men involved and became engaged in an argument with the suspects.

When it became clear the men had no intention of paying her, she threatened to involve law enforcement.

Fearful of the possibility of police involvement, the suspects allegedly strangled the woman, wrapped her body in a hammock and dropped the corpse near the Ang Taminh pagoda the same night.

Following a police report by locals and a 72-hour search, authorities were able to successfully identify the suspects, leading to their arrest at 2pm on Wednesday at the construction site.

They were identified as Navy and Vanan, both from Siem Bok village in Kampong Cham’s Cheung Prey district; Earm Luch, 20, Khat Suor, 17, and Moeun Khey, 20, who all hail from Bak Sna village in Kampong Thom’s Baray district; and Nang Navy, 19, from Meanchey village in Prey Veng’s Kanh Chriech district. All six were construction workers.

Keo Sichan, program coordinator for the Cambodian Women’s Development Agency – which, among other things, advocates for sex workers’ rights – expressed sadness over the case and said that such brutal treatment of women in the sex industry was all too common in the Kingdom.

“It is a human rights violation, it is inhuman and it should not happen in our country anymore,” she said.

“It is good that authorities took action and arrested the six men, because police rarely find those who commit crimes against sex workers like this.”

Sichan added that sex workers who operate independently make up about 80 per cent of the country’s prostitution industry and are at greater risk of police action and violent crime due to a lack of protection networks at their disposal.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY PECH SOTHEARY

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