Three charged with gang-raping French tourist in Cambodia

PHNOM PENH (AFP) - A Cambodian court has charged three men with gang-raping a French tourist in the coastal province of Kampot after offering her a ride in their car, police said on Saturday (Oct 19).

The three suspects were arrested on Tuesday and Wednesday, days after the 43-year-old woman reported the sexual assault to police on Oct 12, Kampot provincial police chief Mao Chanmathurith told AFP.

He said the men had offered the tourist a ride to her accommodation while she was walking alone at 3am before forcing her into the vehicle, driving her to a quiet area and raping her.

"They were charged with rape and placed in pre-trial detention on Friday evening," he said.

The men - a 36-year-old taxi driver and two construction workers aged 19 and 23 - face up to 15 years in jail if convicted, according to court documents seen by AFP.

Kampot, four hours south-west of the capital Phnom Penh, is a popular destination for foreign tourists looking for a quiet beach alternative to better-known hot spots like Siem Reap, home of the Angkor Wat temple complex.

But the coastal province has in recent years gained a reputation for drug use, attracting foreign and local traffickers eager to sell to a hard-partying backpacker crowd.

In 2013, the town was rocked by the discovery of a mutilated body of a 25-year-old Frenchwoman floating in a river.

 

A Belgian was charged with the alleged rape and murder of the woman, but released on bail a year later due to a lack of evidence.