Five Men Arrested Over Murder of ‘Sorcerer’

Two brothers, along with three of their friends accused of helping them carry out the crime, were arrested in Kompong Speu province on Monday over the murder of a 35-year-old man they believed to be a sorcerer responsible for the death of their mother, police said.

A third brother, the primary suspect in the murder, remains at large.

Sum Roek was murdered in front of his house in Samraong Tong district’s Ralaing Kroeul commune at about 10 p.m. Sunday, according to Sam Sak, deputy chief of the provincial police’s penal bureau.

Brothers Koy Mak, 23; Koy Man, 29, and Koy Men, 34, allegedly conspired to kill Sum Roek—whom they suspected of using “black magic” to cause their mother to die seven days earlier—while drinking heavily with their friends Khim Sarann and Pum Sou, both 20, and Sun Sao, 24, earlier on the day of the crime, Mr. Sak said.

All of the men except Mr. Man, the middle brother, were arrested Monday and confessed to their involvement in the murder, he said.

“The main suspect, Mr. Koy Man, used a machete to cut the throat of the victim,” he said, adding that Mr. Sarann held the victim down as Mr. Man slit his throat, while Mr. Sou was the lookout and Mr. Sao the getaway driver.

Mr. Sak said that the brothers’ mother, Mom Ren, fell ill about three weeks ago, but that doctors told her she was healthy. A traditional healer subsequently proclaimed that she was displaying signs of “black magic” in her body.

“After [Mr. Man’s] mother died, he heard that the victim was a sorcerer and he wanted to take revenge, and chose the seventh day after her death to kill him,” he said.

Sum Roek’s murder comes just days after three people in Kratie province allegedly killed a 32-year-old woman they believed to be a sorceress responsible for a series of mysterious deaths in their community.

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