A 15-year-old girl was allegedly raped by 38 men in an abandoned hut in Malaysia.
The assault is believed to have taken place in the northern state of Kelantan on 20th May when the girl met up with a girlfriend and was lured to an empty hut reported to be a local drug haunt.
Malaysian police have detained 13 men and are looking for other suspects following the allegations.
The men took turns to rape her for hours. Police were also investigating whether her 17-year-old friend was also raped.
The alleged attack, one of several brutal cases recently underscoring the violence to which women are being subjected across Asia, sparked outrage among women’s groups.
Politicians from a Muslim party running the region said their proposal to introduce Islamic hudud law, with harsh penalties, would deter offenders.
State and federal police officers either declined comment or could not be immediately reached.
Media accounts, quoting information from district police chief Azham Otham, said 38 men were involved.
Several of those detained had tested positive for amphetamine, the reports said.
Police said action could have been taken had villagers reported the addicts’ presence.
“It is very disturbing to me that no one in the village was even suspicious when the closest neighbour was a mere 20 metres away,” police chief Azham told a Malaysian news source.
Almost 3,000 rapes were reported to the police in 2012, of which 52 per cent involved girls aged 16 and below, according to Malaysian police statistics.
Convicted rapists face up to 30 years in prison and whipping, but many on Internet sites wanted stricter punishment.
“We are seeing a prevalence in rape cases because boys are raised in an environment where they think it is okay to use violence,” Suri Kempe of Sisters in Islam said.
But enforcing hudud won’t curb crime, say the Chinese community leaders in the heartland of Kelantan. They say that the strict Islamic penal code will instead trigger bigger conflicts in the justice system and jeopardise ties between the Malay-Muslim majority and minorities of other ethnic and religious backgrounds.
Making up just four per cent of Kelantan’s 1.6 million population, the Chinese community have so far seemed reticent in voicing their opinion on the rollout of hudud, touted by the PAS state government as an effective weapon in the chronic battle against crime.