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Three admit to raping 17-year-old cleaner

DANGKOR district police have arrested three men in connection with the gang rape of a 17-year-old girl in Kork Roka commune on Monday, and a further six remain at large, police officials said.

The three men, labourers at the Camko City construction site, were arrested on Wednesday after the victim lodged a complaint.

Suon Sam Oeun, the Kork Roka commune police chief, said the suspects all knew the girl, who worked as a cleaner at the construction site. He said they “ambushed” her after one of the men lured her to “see a play with him”.

“While they were driving a motorbike on the way to see the play, there was another motorbike with two men who ambushed the victim,” he said.

“They took the victim to a rice field about 300 metres from the road, where the other six suspects were waiting for them.”

He said the three arrested suspects were being held at the Dangkor district police station and would face further questioning before being sent to Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Friday.

“The three suspects have confessed to the rape, committed along with six other suspects, who still remain at large,” he said.

Sam Rainsy Party lawmaker Mu Sochua said gang rape is a common problem nationwide, with weak law enforcement and cultural attitudes creating an environment in which victims find it difficult to report attacks.

“Usually it is caused by young men under the influence of alcohol who want to show their sense of manhood. It is acceptable to them,” she said.

“The victim is very reluctant to report [rape]. The victim has to go against not just one [person], but many. They are torn emotionally and physically.”

Sar Narun, a secretary of state at the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, could not provide gang rape statistics for this year, but said she believed – based on newspaper reports – that rape cases in general were on rise in the capital.

“Rape cases have increased consistently in newspapers every day,” she said.

“The ministry is working very hard, with efforts focused on developing strategies to reduce gang rapes and individual rapes nationwide,” she said.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY CAMERON WELLS

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