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Tuk-tuk driver on trial over multiple rapes of minor

Buth Reaksmey Kongkea / Khmer Times Share:
Tuk-tuk. File photo.

Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday tried a tuk-tuk driver who allegedly raped a 10-year-old student twice in Phnom Penh’s Prek Phnov district.

Presiding Judge Y Thavreak identified the accused as Tith Sopharath, 34, living in the district’s Samrong commune.

He said Mr Sopharath was charged with rape with aggravating circumstances and noted that he faces between seven to 15 years in jail if convicted. The accused was arrested on February 5.

Judge Thavreak said that on January 30, the accused persuaded the girl to visit his rental room in the commune’s Sarong village when his wife was not home.

“When the victim entered the room, he caught and raped her,” he said. “After the rape, he paid her 50 cents and threatened to kill her if she told her parents or anyone else about the rape.”

Judge Thavreak said the victim went home and did not speak about her ordeal although she felt pain in her genitals.

He said that on February 2, the accused took the girl to Samrong Commune Hall, which was empty, and raped her again, noting that he paid her 50 cents before taking her home.

Judge Thavreak said that on February 5, the accused drove his tuk-tuk to the girl’s school in a bid to pick her up and rape her again.

He noted that the victim saw him and ran to hide in a nearby house which belonged to her mother’s friend.

Judge Thavreak said that the friend asked her what she was trying to escape from and the girl told her about the rapes.

He added that the woman took her home and informed her mother.

Judge Thavreak noted that the mother immediately lodged a report with the commune police and the accused was arrested later that day.
The mother told the court yesterday that she wants $5,000 in compensation from the accused.

“To find justice and truth for my daughter, I am demanding $5,000 in compensation from him,” she said. “I would also ask the court to punish him for his crime.”

During yesterday’s trial, Mr Sopharath denied raping the girl and said that he only touched her genitals.

“I confess that I merely saw and touched her genitals but I did not rape her as accused,” he said. “I would like to ask the court to change my charge to indecent assault and reduce my sentence.”

A verdict is due October 4.

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