The Phnom Penh Municipal Court ordered the “urgent” release of a university student and TV presenter arrested for alleged theft and violence against an oknha — whom she has since accused of attempted rape, sparking a social media outcry.
Thousands of social media users earlier this week shared and commented on a video of Mean Pich Rita being comforted by her mother, calling for her release. In the video, Pich Rita says, “When I close my eyes, I see him touching me. He had a gun and wanted to touch me.”
On Thursday, judge Kuy Sao issued an order to the director of Prey Sar prison’s Correctional Center 2 to release Pich Rita and place her under court supervision.
Sao’s statement says the order is “urgent,” and adds that Pich Rita must respond to court summonses, cannot move residences without permission and cannot go abroad.
Her lawyer, Meas Sithorn, said late Thursday afternoon that Pich Rita had been released and was with her family.
Pich Rita, a presenter for the show “MyTV” and also known as Yubi, says in her court complaint alleging attempted rape that oknha Heng Sier sent her money she didn’t accept and asked to meet her to give her rice, fish sauce and other goods to distribute to people in need in lockdown areas.
But when she got in his car, he had a gun, touched her and propositioned her for sex, the complaint says.
Sier could not be reached for comment.
But an apology letter from Sier was published by government-aligned Kampuchea Thmey on Thursday, with the oknha asking to be forgiven by “the people’s leaders and my wife.”
“I, oknha Heng Sier, would like to apologize to all the leaders and people, as well as my wife and family, for having secretly fallen in love with a third person, Miss Mean Pich Rita,” the letter says, claiming she “demanded too much money” and stabbed him.
Leng Lay, police chief of Toek La’ak II commune, where the incident allegedly took place, said officers were collecting surveillance footage of the area and had also found one or two witnesses who saw both Sier and Pich Rita run out of the car.
“The two gashes seemed serious,” Lay said.
A report by the commune police summarizes the oknha’s original complaint, alleging that Pich Rita was a “sex worker” and that he had given her $1,500 to pay for school. He drove himself to Preah Kossamak Hospital after the stabbing, it says.