Alleged gang-rape shocks Malaysian sports

KUALA LUMPUR - The alleged gang-rape of a female official by three handball players has rocked Malaysia's sports community, as officials Wednesday demanded tough punishment for the perpetrators.

Sieh Koh Chi, secretary-general of the Olympic Council of Malaysia, told AFP he was "shocked" by the incident on July 3 at the Malaysia Games, a competition between the country's different states.

"Swift investigations must be carried out," he said.

Zolkples Embong, national sports council director-general, was quoted by Bernama news agency as saying the 19-year-old was semi-conscious when she was allegedly raped repeatedly at the games village.

She had been acting as a communications liason officer for the Federal Territories girl's handball team.

Three male handball players, aged between 18 and 19, were arrested last Friday to help in the inquiry.

The Star newspaper said Tuesday that before the alleged rape, the young woman had left the games village to have alcoholic drinks with several handball players.

National police spokesman Ramli Yoosuf said police investigations were continuing but declined to elaborate.

Peter Velappan, former Asian Football Confederation general secretary, said the "outrageous" incident was the first of its kind in Malaysian sports and had tarnished the country.

Offenders must face "severe punishment", he said.