Seven men allegedly killed a man they accused of being a sorcerer in Kompong Thom pro-vince’s Sandan district, police said Wednesday.
Kompong Thom provincial police arrested four people for allegedly taking part in the mob killing of Hang Heoun, 47, in Ngoan commune’s Viel Pring Leu village late Monday night, district police chief Oung Moly said by telephone.
Hang Heoun was beaten with a steel pipe and had his throat slit before the mob dumped his body in the Stung Sen river Monday night, Oung Moly said.
Villagers accused Hang Heoun of being a sorcerer months ago, police said, and the morning before he was killed the victim had asked the commune chief to help resolve the situation. According to police, the commune chief had promised to help the next day, by which time Hang Heoun’s body was found.
The dead man’s family informed local police that they knew the identities of the suspected killers and demanded arrests, Oung Moly said.
When police went to arrest the suspects tensions rose. “Villagers surrounded us and the first time they did not allow to bring suspects to the police station,” Oung Moly said. “They shouted that all of them killed the victim because he is a sorcerer.”
Four suspects—Chan Hy, 32; Hy Hai, 28; Nguon Heng, 25; and Mob My, 25—were eventually brought to the police station, Oung Moly said, adding that police know the identities of the other three men.
The four men who were arrested have been charged with premeditated killing and are being detained at the provincial prison, provincial Deputy Prosecutor Pen Sarat said by telephone.
Ek Sothea, Kompong Thom provincial monitor for local rights group Licadho, said that there were four sorcery-related killings in the province in 2008.
Licadho President Kek Galabru said by telephone Wednesday that belief in black magic persists throughout Cambodia despite all the evidence against it.
Using black magic as a reason to kill someone, she added, “is mob killing, their own justice and it is just wrongdoing.”