Police in Ratanakkiri province are seeking to arrest a suspect over the rape and murder of a 20-year-old woman on a rubber plantation where she was working in O’Yadav district’s Yatung commune.
A police report identified the victim as Ron Senghorng, who went missing on Saturday and whose family found her naked body on the plantation on Sunday.
After an autopsy, it was concluded that she was raped and bludgeoned to death with a wooden bar, which was found bloodied at the scene.
Sam Vannak, police chief of the provincial serious crimes bureau, said from the crime scene yesterday that police were still collecting evidence.
“Right now, we are here at the scene to collect evidence,” he said, describing the scene as a remote area.
District police chief Mao Sann said that police were not yet ready to identify the suspect and noted that provincial police would be taking charge of the case.
“We are now working with the provincial police to investigate further,” he said.
Hak Horn, spokesman for the provincial court, said that as of yesterday, police were at least 70 percent sure of who committed the crime, and also declined to identify the suspect.
“Until now, we are 70 to 80 percent sure who did it and our police are working on it,” he said. “The suspect was not a fellow worker for the plantation. We have been working on this case very hard for the last two days.”
Mr Horn added that the victim was walking alone when she was ambushed, raped and killed by the suspect near the plantation.
“She was a worker for the rubber plantation there and the suspect took the opportunity to rape her when she was walking alone and it was quiet,” he said. “After the autopsy, we handed over the body to her family for her funeral.”
The rape-murder case adds to a list of such violent crimes within the province.
In October, an 18-year-old girl was raped and murdered in Lumphat district.
Last month, another 18-year-old girl was raped and murdered. Her body was found near her house in Banlung town and police arrested one suspect.
Ros Sopheap, executive director of rights group Gender and Development for Cambodia, said local authorities must play a larger role in the fight to reduce violent crimes against women. “Currently, our society has clear policies stating that men and women share the same rights, but unfortunately, law enforcement shows less respect for women and some in society still take the opportunity to take advantage of them,” she said. “That’s why we say that the law and enforcement are not walking along together.”