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‘Sorcerer’ slaying examined

Three men pose for a photograph at a local police station in Kampong Chhnang province after they were arrested for the murder of a neighbour they accused of practising sorcery.
Three men pose for a photograph at a local police station in Kampong Chhnang province after they were arrested for the murder of a neighbour they accused of practising sorcery. National police

‘Sorcerer’ slaying examined

Three people in Oddar Meanchey province will be questioned today over the alleged premeditated murder of a “gentle” 60-year-old woman accused by a local family of practising sorcery, police said yesterday.

Nem Nor, Chongkal district deputy police chief, said Rem Yoeurm was found dead at her home in Banteay Chor village on Thursday night, having been stabbed repeatedly in the throat and chest and with her stomach sliced open.

“The victim was killed at around 8 to 9pm when she stayed at home alone while her husband went out to treat other villagers because he is a traditional Khmer doctor.”

When Yoeurm’s husband returned home, he discovered her body, Nor said.

Yoeurm’s death marks the second sorcery-related murder in the district so far this year, according to Nor.

It also comes just days after a man in Kampong Chhnang province was hacked to death, allegedly by three of his neighbours who accused him of practising black magic.

Three suspects have been arrested in relation to the murder – 52-year-old Hauk Samnang, her son-in-law, Samban Buth, 27, and her son, Yan Dauch, 25.

According to Nor, days before the murder Samnang fell sick after drinking wine with Yoeurm, whom she accused of using sorcery to make her ill.

Samnang “ordered her son-in-law to kill Rem Yoeurm. She told him that if he did not kill the victim, she would hire someone else to do it,” Nor said.

Before the murder, “Yan Dauch went to see the victim and threatened to kill her if she didn’t make his mother recover,” he added.

Police arrested Buth on Friday night as he attempted to flee to his hometown in the province’s Samroang district. Samnang and Dauch were arrested at their home the following day.

All three will be sent to the provincial court today for questioning.

Nor said tensions were high in the small community since Yoeurm’s death.

“The villagers got so angry with the suspects. They attempted to attack them [before the arrests], but we tried to stop them,” he said.

“The victim and her husband are gentle people and the villagers like them.

When a sorcerer dies, people will not join their funeral, but with Rem Yoeurm it’s different.

The villagers really pity her and a lot of them are joining her funeral. She was not a sorcerer.”

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