A 50-year-old man accused of practicing black magic was decapitated Thursday night in Kampot province, and police are still searching for the head, officials said Friday.
The victim, Yung Han, 50, also had his left hand partially severed, and three fingers on his right hand were cut off and are also missing, said Buth Somuny, Kompong Trach district police chief.
“The victim was decapitated. The suspects cut off three fingers from his right hand, and tried to sever his left hand, but failed,” he said, adding that police have been searching for the head near where the body was found.
Khang Tbong commune chief Kong Sok said that some people in the village had accused Yung Han of practicing witchcraft to make other villagers sick.
“When they got sick, they went to a fortuneteller who told them that they had been cursed,” Mr. Sok said.
Voth Rem, Koh Chamkar deputy village chief, said that the victim often went fishing at night and would usually return home at around midnight.
Mr. Rem said that Yung Han’s son, whose name he did not know, told him that on Thursday at 5 p.m. his father went fishing about 500 meters from the village and came back home at 8:30 p.m. He then left again to collect his fish.
“His son said that when his father did not come back, his mother told him to go out and find him…after following a set of bloody footprints, he found his father’s headless body about 30 to 40 meters from his fishing basket.”
Commune police chief Chum Phen said that the victim’s body had been hacked repeatedly with a machete and that there might have been more than three suspects.
“The first thing that the police were able to conclude is that the victim was killed because…he was accused of being a sorcerer.”
Police and a search party of about 30 people spent Friday trying to locate the head and fingers of the victim, but found nothing, he said.