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Two to be charged in witchcraft axe murder

TWO men who allegedly hacked to death with axes a man they accused of being a sorcerer are set to face Kampong Speu provincial court today, where they are likely to be charged with murder, the provincial police chief said Tuesday.

Keo Pisey said his staff had identified the two suspects based on tips from residents of Bor Seth district’s Por Angkrong commune, where the crime occurred. The victim, 44-year-old Mul Sophal, was killed on Sunday night, he said.

“Two men are now being held at our provincial police station for interrogation,” he said.

He said both had confessed to the crime during interrogation.

“Because they have confessed to killing the man because of witchcraft, we will send the pair to provincial court on Wednesday to face primary charges of murder,” he said.

He added that the victim had been hacked multiple times with axes.

Meanwhile, police in Kampong Speu are continuing to investigate the case, as they have been told other people may have been involved in the killing, he said.

Mich Ponn, a researcher at the Buddhist Institute and an adviser to the Ministry of Cults and Religions, said that belief in witchcraft is common in rural areas, but condemned the killing regardless.

“Witchcraft is a belief that cannot be seen. They could not find any evidence, only suspicions. People should not have killed the sorcerer by themselves, which is against the law,” he said.

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