A 44-year-old man was placed in pre-trial detention by the Banteay Meanchey Provincial Court on April 26 after being arrested for allegedly raping his 10-year-old stepdaughter.

Dy Soheat, deputy provincial police chief in charge of anti-human trafficking and juveniles protection, said on April 27 that Chan Raya – a resident of Banteay Chhmar commune in Thma Puok district, was detained on April 26.

Both prosecutor and judge questioned the suspect for hours before issuing the detention order.

"Before the court decides to detain someone, the court investigates the matter in great detail. The court charges him with having sex with a minor under the age of 15," Soheat said.

Under Article 42 of the Law on the Suppression of Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation’s , the suspect faces between five and 10 years in prison if found guilty.

Banteay Chhmar commune police chief Phe Savith said on April 27 that the victim has an elder brother.

"The victim’s mother filed the complaint because the girl told her mother," he said.

Savith said the mother was a widow living in extreme poverty. She stayed with the accused man and relied on him as her children were still young.

He added that on the morning of April 24, the mother went to work as a mango picker near the village and left the children at home. But the suspect did not go to the farm with his wife and used the opportunity to rape the girl.

He added that when the mother returned home from work, the girl cried and told her about the incident. The mother then filed a complaint with the 807th border guard battalion police station as it was near her house.

Battalion police then arrested the suspect and handed him over to commune police.

"The incident happened in a village about 1km away from the commune police station," he said.