Local authorities rescued a 65-year-old fortuneteller from hundreds of villagers who accused him of practicing sorcery and then encircled his home in an attempt to kill him, officials said on Sunday.
Prak Kong—the alleged sorcerer—and his wife were escorted by police from their home to a district police station in Kompong Speu province, where they spent the night on Friday, officials said. The following morning, Mr. Kong requested to be relocated to ensure their safety.
“The villagers attempted to kill him because they suspected him of being a sorcerer” and using black magic to make people ill, Kong Pisei district governor Chem Phoeunvuth said.
“He decided to move to live in another province to avoid any violence from happening tohim or his family,” Mr. Phoeunvuth said.
About 600 villagers armed with machetes, hammers and other weapons surrounded the home of Mr. Kong and threatened to kill him on Friday afternoon, officials said.
Accompanied by about 30 district and commune police officers, Doung Soy, Prey Vihear commune chief, said he placated the angry mob and eventually persuaded the villagers not to use violence, although they demanded that Mr. Kong leave the district.
“There are no laws that allow them to do this. They violated the law,” Mr. Soy said.
Violence against alleged sorcerers has resulted in people being beaten and even decapitated over recent years.
In 2014, a group of six people used an ax to decapitate a 55-year-old man accused of sorcery in Kompong Speu’s Baset district, police said at the time.