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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - ‘Sorcerer’ left disabled

Sok Soau shows the stitched up gash on his leg last month in Ratanakkiri province after he was attacked by machete-winelding me
Sok Soau shows the stitched up gash on his leg last month in Ratanakkiri province after he was attacked by machete-wielding men who accused him of being a sorcerer. Pha Lina

‘Sorcerer’ left disabled

More than a month after he was brutally attacked on suspicion of being a sorcerer, a Ratanakkiri province cucumber farmer says he has been left disabled and in search of crucial medical funds.

Sok Soau and his wife, Leang Sornn, both 57, were sleeping in their home one night in late April when four men broke in and attacked them with machetes. The men told police that the couple – with whom they were embroiled in a land dispute – was practising black magic.

Only one of the alleged assailants remains in detention awaiting trial, with police claiming there is not enough evidence to link the other three to the attack. Having fled their home in fear of further violence, Soau and Sornn’s lives have been upturned as the now-homeless couple faces mounting medical bills.

“My life has completely changed since the attempted murder happened. I cannot depend on myself to earn a living anymore,” Soau said.

When the Post visited Soau and Sornn at a relative’s home in Ratanakkiri last month, both had deep wounds across their bodies that appeared to be infected. One on Soau’s leg, which was loosely stitched together, was crawling with ants.

Sornn has now travelled to Vietnam for treatment, but the family does not have enough money for Soau to do the same.

“Therefore, I want to demand for $30,000 compensation for the rest of my life,” he said.

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