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Locals seek to cast out ‘witch’ in Prey Veng

AROUND 400 residents of Chea Khlang commune in Prey Veng province’s Svay Anthor district have requested that local authorities either imprison or relocate a woman they say is a sorceress, villagers said Tuesday.

Yoek Sovanna, a local villager, said people had enlisted the help of a “master magic man” to identify the alleged witch after a string of mysterious illnesses and deaths. He added that villagers had destroyed the women’s property after learning that she was a sorceress.

“Now our villagers are scared and would like to ask district authorities to bring her to another province or imprison her, otherwise she will order her ghost spirit to kill our villagers,” he said.

Village chief Sorn Meng said he had made a contract with the alleged witch in December 2009 and that she had agreed to stop using magic to kill people. “She confessed with us that she is a sorceress, and we have a document with her thumbprint. I don’t yet know how to take measures against her,” he said.

Commune chief Ob Seab said, there have always been witches in Khmer culture, and that they are often difficult to identify. “In our country we have [witches] everywhere in the remote areas,” he said. “Because we haven’t got evidence, we cannot accuse people.”

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