An elderly man suspected of sorcery was hacked to death on Sunday at his home in Kompong Speu province’s Odong district, police said. The murder was the second brutal killing of a suspected sorcerer in the province in two days.
Thleung Sum, 75, a retired traditional healer, was alone at his house in Kraing Chek commune when he was attacked by assailants, who struck him repeatedly in the back of the head with two machetes before shoving his lifeless body under his bed, according to Odong district police chief Khem Samon.
Mr. Samon said that Thleung Sum’s two daughters were at a nearby wedding party when assailants entered his house between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. His 42-year-old daughter Sum Soy discovered her father’s body at about 10 p.m. and alerted authorities, he added.
“We have concluded that the victim was killed…due to a grudge, and that the victim and the suspect, or multiple suspects, might have been acquainted,” Mr. Samon said.
Chun Sinuon, Kraing Chek commune police chief, said that as a traditional healer, Thleung Sum had been accused of making people in the village sick, but that since retiring he seemed like a normal elderly man.
However, commune chief Cheng Khoeung said that some nearby residents blamed Thleung Sum for a spate of recent sicknesses.
“He was accused of being a sorcerer by many people because many people have died due to unknown diseases,” Mr. Khoeung said, adding that the last time a suspected sorcerer was killed in the commune was in 1997.
Mr. Samon, the district police chief, said police had already questioned and released two suspects over Thleung Sum’s murder and were continuing to investigate.
Police investigating the murder of Khieu Porn, another accused sorcerer who was decapitated in Kompong Speu province’s Baset district on Saturday night, said they have not identified any of the suspects.
“We are investigating,” said Baset district police chief Som Chantha. “If we find out who the suspects are, we will arrest them.”