Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - ‘Sorcery’ accusations prompt Mondulkiri attack

‘Sorcery’ accusations prompt Mondulkiri attack

Khet Pos, 25, stands next to her husband, Mroeum Di, 29, who is being treated at Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital after he was shot in the head for allegedly practising sorcery.
Khet Pos, 25, stands next to her husband, Mroeum Di, 29, who is being treated at Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital after he was shot in the head for allegedly practising sorcery. Daphne Chen

‘Sorcery’ accusations prompt Mondulkiri attack

A 29-year-old ethnic Phnong man was shot in the head on Friday and remains in critical condition after being accused of sorcery in Mondulkiri province’s Koh Nhek district.

District Police Chief Klot Sok Khear said that Mroeum Di was shot once in the head at around 9pm on Friday in Sok San commune, and that police were still searching for the suspect.

Sok Khear said there had been no deaths or illnesses in the village that he knew about that may have caused residents to believe Di was a sorcerer. However, “after the incident, we identified that there is no other story besides this sorcery”, he said.

Di is currently in critical condition at Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital, where he is being looked after by his wife, Sok Khear said. His wife, 25-year-old Khet Pos, said she was upstairs at their home when she heard the shot go off.

“My husband has never been in any conflict with anyone or hurt anyone,” Pos said, adding that a neighbour had often accused her husband of being a sorcerer when he was drunk.

“I don’t know who the perpetrator is, but I hope the police can arrest him. I have no idea why he shot my husband. My husband is just a normal person,” she said.

A doctor at the hospital, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Di’s brain and eyes had been severely damaged. “Our main task is to save his life first,” the doctor said. “We don’t know whether he could be blind after recovery . . . We will try our best to save his life.”

Sok Khear said the last time police dealt with a sorcery case in Koh Nhek district was in 2008, when two brothers accused of black magic were shot dead.

Fear of sorcery remains a deeply held belief in some parts of Cambodia. People accused of sorcery are often attacked, driven out of their homes or killed.

In April, a traditional healer and his family fled their home in Kampong Speu province’s Kong Pisey district after villagers accused him of sorcery and threatened to kill him.

In Ratanakkiri’s Bakeo district, one man who was accused of being a sorcerer was holed up in a police station for two years. And last July, a man in Pursat who was accused of sorcery was shot dead by a masked assailant while watching television.

MOST VIEWED

  • PM: No more quarantine for vaccinated travellers

    Cambodia is lifting all quarantine requirements for vaccinated inbound travellers entering Cambodia by air, waterway or land border checkpoints effective from November 15. Travellers will be required to take a rapid antigen test on arrival rather than waiting for the results of the lengthier polymerase chain

  • No payment required for travellers taking rapid Covid tests on arrival

    Ministry of Health officials said there would be no payment required for the rapid Covid-19 tests given to travellers who arrive in Cambodia from November 15 onwards after the quarantine requirement is lifted for fully vaccinated people. Health ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine told The Post on

  • General’s gun smuggling ring busted

    The Military Police sent six military officers to court on November 22 to face prosecution for possession of 105 illegal rifles and arms smuggling, while investigators say they are still hunting down additional accomplices. Sao Sokha, deputy commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and commander of

  • More Cambodians studying in US

    The number of Cambodian students studying at US colleges and universities in 2020-21 increased by 14.3 per cent over the previous year despite the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a recent US government report. The 2021 Open Doors report on International Educational Exchange showed that 848 Cambodian students studied

  • Cambodia, Thailand to discuss border reopening

    Cambodian authorities from provinces along the Cambodia-Thailand border will meet with Thai counterparts to discuss reopening border checkpoints to facilitate travel, transfer of products and cross-border trade between the two countries. Banteay Meanchey provincial deputy governor Ly Sary said on November 22 that the provincial administration

  • Police arrest Canadian with 167kg of drugs

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on November 15 placed a Canadian national in pre-trial detention in connection with smuggling and possessing 167kg of illegal drugs. Deputy National Police chief in charge of anti-drug enforcement Mak Chito told The Post on November 15 that the man was arrested