Plantation Thief Charged for Murder of ‘Sorcereress’

After being apprehended for stealing from a pepper plantation, a man was charged on Monday for the murder of a woman he and three others believed to be a sorceress, police said.

Ken Korn, 26, was arrested in Tbong Khmum province’s Memot district on Saturday morning when the owners of a pepper plantation near his cottage called police as he attempted to steal a hose, said district police chief Hong Kimheang.

“He steals everything he can find—gasoline, hoses to water pepper and other people’s food,” Mr. Kimheang said.

Mr. Korn had previously been detained for the murder of a woman in Kratie province’s Sambor district in October last year, but had escaped into the jungle as he was brought to a police station, said Hout Limheang, chief of the provincial police’s serious crimes bureau.

Mr. Limheang said that not everyone understands that killing alleged sorcerers is against the law, citing a 2007 case in which a “guy who’d killed a woman asked me—if I’d known that there was a punishment for killing, why hadn’t I told him before?”

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