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Women charged with beheading ‘sorcerer’ in Kampong Speu

Two Phnom Sruoch district women were charged in Kampong Speu Provincial Court yesterday with beheading a farmer they claimed used sorcery to kill a family member.

The headless body of Sao Siv, 62, was found in a mango plantation located in Chambak commune’s Thmey village on Friday.

Provincial penal police office chief Sam Sak said Oem Sun, 58, had confessed to murdering Siv while the victim’s 33-year-old daughter-in-law Mao Channy – also known as Kley – stood watch.

“This case is a premeditated murder because they devised the plan to kill the man, whom they believe a sorcerer,” Sak said.

He said Sun believed Siv had used sorcery to kill her brother – Channy’s father – a decade prior, and had caused her to fall ill and suffer paralysis in half her body.

“The victim was pounding a cow stake into the ground and she [Sun] just hacked him in the neck from behind with a machete and cut off his head,” Sak said.

“The head was buried nearby but she was panicked and could not say exactly where she buried it.”

District police chief Say Bunthorn said police would have to continue to search for the head without the suspects’ assistance for fear that locals who believe the women innocent could cause violence if police bring them back to the village.

So-called “sorcerer killings” are relatively common in the Kingdom. At least three people were murdered for allegedly practising black magic in 2015 in Oddar Meanchey, Mondulkiri and Kampong Chhnang provinces.

In Ratanakkiri, a married couple was attacked with machetes and a man had to flee his home for the same reason.

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