Sorcery Fear Suspected in 3 Killings

A hill tribe family whose bodies were found in Kratie province on May 1 died because someone believed one of the three was a sorcerer, according to police and human rights workers.

“These are very barbarous murders,’’ Thor Neath, who investigates for the human rights organization Adhoc in Kratie, said Saturday.

He said the bodies of 49-year-old farmer Maleh Chran and his wife, Kes Neuy, 52, were discovered in a stream 500 meters behind their home in Sre Norn village, Snuol district.

The couple’s arms and legs were tied and they had been shot and stabbed numerous times, he said. Their son, Chran Nan, 29, had apparently been shot to death as he slept inside their home.

Yorn Din, the provincial criminal police chief, said the police have some suspects but have made no arrests. “We are still doing the serious investigation,’’ he said.

“It is a bit hard for police to do because there were no tracks left.’’

Yorn Din confirmed that people believed Maleh Chran was a sorcerer.

Thor Neath said some villagers said that if anyone “dared to drink with the alleged sorcerer, he or she would fall sick and die.’’

At least one sorcery-related death is reported in Kratie province every year, said Yorn Din.

When a suspected sorcerer is killed, family members are sometimes killed as well to prevent the dead sorcerer from passing his powers to his relatives.

Last November, four men were accused of killing an alleged sorcerer in Battambang and dining on his liver, with wine, police said.

Apparently, not everyone in Sre Norn believed the dead family was linked to sorcery, police said.

At the family’s funeral, many people helped out, and said they were a nice family who did not fight with their neighbors.

 

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