Police Officer Admits to Firing AK-47 Near Accused Sorcerer

A deputy district police chief in Kompong Thom province on Wednesday admitted to firing his assault rifle near a local butcher he accuses of using black magic to kill his wife, but claimed he only discharged the weapon to vent his anger.

Baray district deputy police chief Svay Saveth said he fired his AK-47 twice into the air on Sunday while lambasting Sen Rany, 36, whom he holds responsible for his wife’s mysterious death that day.

“I acknowledge my mistake, that I shot two times into the sky because I had a broken heart,” Mr. Saveth said.

“I could not control my feelings because I was angry that my wife died from an unknown disease,” he said, explaining that he believed Mr. Rany to be a sorcerer because he was ethnic Cham.

“I swear on my life that I did not attempt to murder him,” he added.

Mr. Saveth said that his boss, district police chief Suong Then, had since confiscated his rifle and pistol pending an investigation into the incident.

Mr. Rany—who said he fled his home on Monday and filed a complaint with the Kompong Thom Provincial Court on Tuesday—countered that Mr. Saveth’s version of events was false.

“Mr. Saveth used his rifle to shoot two times to threaten me and then his son pointed a pistol at me and threatened to kill me…. I was really scared,” he said.

“He accused me of doing black magic to kill his wife, but it’s not reasonable because I know nothing about that,” he added. “He came to say sorry, but I cannot forgive him. I want authorities to punish him according to the law,” he added.

Mr. Rany said he was currently staying at his father’s house nearby, along with his pregnant wife and two children.

Ith Sophea, a prosecutor at the provincial court, said he had not yet received Mr. Rany’s complaint. “If we get the complaint, we will summon all sides to appear at the court for questioning.”


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