Three Freed, One Arrested in ‘Sorcerer’ Murder

Police in Kompong Speu province on Thursday arrested another suspect in the beating and beheading of a traditional healer in Thpong district, having released three other suspects on Wednesday due to a lack of evidence.

The headless body of Pak Sophea, 53, was found on a roadside on Saturday. Thee bloody wooden clubs were discovered at the scene, while two bloody T-shirts were found about 30 meters away. In the days that followed, three men were arrested for questioning.

The three were released on Wednesday, however, according to Svay Yoeun, deputy chief of the provincial police’s central judicial bureau, who said investigators had failed to compile enough evidence to continue holding the trio.

“We already arrested three men who were suspected of involvement in that case, but we decided to release them…because we did not have enough evidence to inculpate them,” Mr. Yoeun said, adding that a fourth man was caught Thursday.

“This morning, we brought a fourth suspect for questioning at the police station,” he said, declining to identify the man.

“We are looking to arrest one more man. I heard he’s also gone to Takeo province,” Mr. Yoeun said. “We suspect he was involved with the case because he was fighting with the victim a few days before the murder.”

“He accused the victim of doing black magic, causing his father’s death,” he said.

Chea Sun, a deputy district police chief, said investigators believed that Pak Sophea was killed over claims that he was a malevolent sorcerer intent on hexing his neighbors.

“We can say the case involves local people who accused him of doing black magic to cause their relatives to suffer death and illness.”

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