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Minority Girl Alleges Two-Month Kidnapping

A teenaged ethnic minority from Ratanakkiri province filed a lawsuit in the provincial court Monday, alleging she had been kidnapped by a local farmer for more than two months.

The complaint alleges illegal confinement, attempted rape and defamation, because the girl, Klen Chhoeu,17, was forced to tell neighbors she was the second wife of the defendant, Tun Liem.

Tun Liem could not be reached for comment.

According to the complaint Tun Liem, 40, who has a soybean and cashew farm in Or Chum district and also works as a motorcycle taxi driver, took the girl June 2 after she traveled with him from her home district of Andong Meas to Ratanakkiri town but did not have enough money to pay the fare.

The girl had been traveling to meet her aunt in Ratanakkiri town and had been promised by her aunt money on arrival. When the girl arrived at the meeting place, her aunt was not there, and Tun Liem asked for 50,000 riel, according to the complaint.

When the girl could not pay, Tun Liem sped towards his farm, where he forced her to work, promising her 150,000 riel per month. During her stay, according to the complaint, Tun Liem also tried to force her into sexual intercourse and did not pay her salary.

The girl finally escaped after she fell ill and was taken to the Ratanakkiri town hospital by Tun Liem's wife, who also advised the girl to call her father.

The girl's father, Sorl Nhoung, then picked her up and took her home, on Aug. 13, more than two months after her alleged abduction.

The girl filed a lawsuit with the help of local Adhoc rights workers.

"This is the first time I have seen such a case," said Adhoc coordinator Pen Bunnah.

A court prosecutor confirmed Tuesday receiving the complaint, but declined further comment, and police said Tun Liem had not yet been arrested.