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France-Cambodia

Three men charged for gang-raping French tourist in Cambodia

A Cambodian trader pulls his cart loaded with recyclable materials past the Independence monument in Phnom Penh on October 17, 2019.
A Cambodian trader pulls his cart loaded with recyclable materials past the Independence monument in Phnom Penh on October 17, 2019. TANG CHHIN Sothy / 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 Saturday.

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The victim, from Paris, told police she was walking home from a restaurant in Kampot last Friday when three local men pulled up alongside her just after 3am and offered her a lift back to her hotel.

The men allegedly pulled her into the car and drove to a remote location where they held her captive.

All three men then repeatedly raped her before driving her back, she said.

The men -- a 36-year-old taxi driver and two construction workers aged 19 and 23 -- "were charged with rape and placed in pre-trial detention on Friday evening," Kampot provincial police chief Mao Chanmathurith told the AFP news agency.

They could face up to 15 years in jail if convicted.

Drug destination

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

But the coastal province has in recent years gained a reputation as one of the top drug destinations for foreign and local traffickers, eager to sell to a hard-partying backpacker crowd.

In 2013, the town was rocked by the discovery of a young French woman's body floating in a river.

More than 170,000 tourists from France visited in 2018 - the highest from any European country.

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