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Teen accused of rape, murder of 12-year-old

A BATTAMBANG teenager stands accused of raping a 12-year-old girl from his own village before leaving her to drown in a water canal, court officials said Wednesday.

Phat Seng, 17, was charged with murder Tuesday, said deputy prosecutor Uy Samphea.

The parents of victim Pheng Phalla found her body Sunday lying in a shallow water canal 3 kilometres away from their home in Toul Snuol village, said Mong Russei district police Chief Kith Hean.

Investigators say they believe the girl was tending cattle in a rice field with her two brothers on Saturday before she was attacked. It is alleged that Phat Seng lured the victim’s brothers away by offering them 500 riels (US$0.12) to buy snacks.

Police say that Phat Seng then raped Pheng Phalla before throwing her body into a metre-deep canal, where she drowned.

Krouch Chan Pov, provincial monitor for human rights group Adhoc, said Wednesday that child rape in rural areas is a pressing concern.

“Parents like to allow their female children to go out alone,” she said. “It gives a chance for bad people take advantage of victims.”

If found guilty, Phat Seng faces a prison sentence of 15 to 20 years.

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