Malaysian police on Wednesday detained 13 men and are looking for other suspects following allegations that a 15-year old girl was raped by 38 men in an abandoned hut. Media accounts, quoting information from District Police Chief, Azham Otham, said 38 men were involved.
Reports say the assault took place in the northern state of Kelantan on May 20 when the girl met a girlfriend and was lured to an empty hut said to be a local drug haunt.
The men took turns to rape her for hours, according to police report.
Officials also say they were investigating whether her 17-year old friend was also raped by the gang.
The alleged attack, one of several brutal cases this week, underscores the violence to which women are being subjected across Asia and had sparked outrage among women rights groups.
Politicians from a Muslim party running the region said their proposal to introduce Islamic law, with harsh penalties, would deter offenders. Several of those detained had tested positive for amphetamine, the reports said.
Reports also say a man and his two teenage sons were among those detained. Police said action could have been taken to avert the event if the villagers had 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,” the police chief said.
No fewer than 3,000 rapes were reported to the police in 2012, of which 52 per cent involved girls aged 16 and below, according to police statistics. Convicted rapists face up to 30 years in prison and whipping, but many are calling for stricter punishment.