Cambodian serial rapist sentenced to 75 years for sexually abusing young girls

A Cambodian man has been sentenced to 75 years in prison for repeatedly raping five girls, officials said Monday, calling the sentence the harshest punishment ever handed down against a serial rapist.

Bich Bou, 24, was convicted of multiple rapes of girls aged four to 12, said Le Sithon, a judge in Kampong Chhnang province.

He said he sentenced the man to a combined 75 years in prison and ordered him to pay two million riel (US$482; Ђ377) in compensation to each girl during a trial last Friday.

Prak Saony, a provincial anti-human trafficking police chief, said Bich Bou and the girls are distant relatives. The girls' families used to entrust him to look after their children when they went to work.

Bich Bou molested the girls repeatedly since February before police arrested him in July after receiving complaints from the family of one of the girls, Prak Saony said.

She said the case was "the most serious" she has ever heard of, reports AP.

Activists say Cambodian children have increasingly become victims of rape by adults, including their step fathers. Many child rights advocacy groups say cases go unreported and that many child sex abusers escape justice.

Kampong Chhnang province is about 80 kilometers (50 miles) north of the capital Phnom Penh.

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