KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) - Malaysian police have arrested at least 13 people, including a father and his two sons, over the alleged gang-rape of two teenage girls, an officer said Friday.
The girls - aged 15 and 17 - were raped on May 20 for hours by a group of men in an abandoned hut in the northern state of Kelantan, Lai Yong Heng, the state's director of crime investigation, said.
Police have arrested 13 men, aged from 15 to 38, and are looking for "a few more" in connection with the gang-rape, he added.
Mr Lai dismissed early reports that almost 40 people took turns in the rape, saying it was fewer but that some raped the girls more than once.
"It's definitely more than 10. We are still investigating," he told AFP.
All those detained are from the same village, where the assault took place, and some are related, Mr Lai said. Most of them were believed to have been on drugs, and the girls were lured to the hut.
Suri Kempe, an official with women's rights group Sisters in Islam, said the frequent number of rape cases being reported was "extremely worrying".
"Boys are being raised in a culture where being masculine means being aggressive, and that it's perfectly acceptable to use violence to get what you want," she said in a statement. Almost 3,000 rape cases were reported in 2012 in the Southeast Asian country of 28 million people, according to police statistics, with many of the victims aged 16 and below.
But activists say many more cases go unreported due to a continuing stigma for rape victims in the Muslim-majority country.