Stung Treng provincial authorities are hunting down two men suspected in the killing of an alleged sorcerer following the arrest of one suspect initially for the murder, which took place on October 31.

Provincial deputy police chief Va Sophan told The Post November 8 that Phim Leam, 50, was found dead by his family members and relatives near the edge of the forest in Koh Sneng commune of Borei O’Svay Sen Chey district after he was missing for three days.

He said that after the discovery of the victim’s body, forensic specialists had conducted an examination at the scene. The specialists concluded that the victim was murdered and robbed of his belongings including a motorcycle that he was driving when he left the house, according to his relatives.

“On November 5, police officers arrested a suspect named Thea Sophea, 24, resident of Koh Hip Village in Koh Sneng Commune. The suspect confessed to having committed the murder with two other people,” he said.

According to Sophan, the suspect claimed that the victim was a sorcerer and that he cast a spell on the suspect’s father causing his death a few years ago. On the night of October 31, the suspect and his accomplices – also village residents – ambushed the victim in the forest and killed him and then fled from the area.

“However, this allegation is totally unsubstantiated and may just be a convenient excuse for the suspect,” he said, adding that no other villagers were claiming that the victim practiced sorcery.

Sophan said the police have built a case file with preliminary charges for the suspect of premeditated murder and they will send him to court on November 8, but the actual charges will be

determined by the court. He said the police would continue to search for the other two suspects.