Anger erupted in an Oddar Meanchey village as three youths aged 15 to 18 were arrested for allegedly raping and murdering a 17-year-old girl during the night after a New Year village dance party, police said.
Samraong city police chief Ham Phirum said the three youths had confessed to police, but when they were taken to the scene of the alleged crime to explain their actions, a mob formed.
“Regarding the brutal and cruel act, people and family were very angry with them and wanted to use the power of the people,” Phirum said. “On behalf of the authorities, we prepared a force and explained to make them understand that in the Kingdom of Cambodia there is no death penalty.”
“What the perpetrator has committed will be [punished] as deserved under the law and court verdict. Let the courts handle it through the law, and we cannot let the family and people in the area use violence.”
The arrests followed a police investigation that initially led to the arrests of two youths at their homes, Phirum said. The third suspect was arrested later Monday.
“He also confessed that he had jointly raped and murdered the victim and threw her into the stream,” he said. Two of the suspects were aged 15 and 17, he said, identifying a third 18-year-old suspect as Pheak Seiha.
They were being questioned by police, he said. “Based on the location, body and other evidence and witnesses at the scene and other measures, we reached our identifications of the perpetrators and arrested the three.”
The girl went missing after a village dance party Friday night. Police previously said her mother thought she had gone to her grandmother’s house or to a friend’s before her body was found in the nearby stream the next day. She had scars and was wearing only a shirt, police said.