Two Detained Over ‘Magic Tusk’ Swindle

Two men were detained briefly and released Saturday in Koh Kong province, accused of trying to cheat a head monk out of $2,000 over the sale of a wild boar’s tusk that supposedly had magical powers, officials said Tues­day.

The men, Heng Sokha, 37, an RCAF soldier from Phnom Penh, and Cheat Mean, 35, from Kom­pong Cham province, approached the head monk of the Stung Sam­rong temple and offered him $20,000 for a magic white boar’s tusk, Koh Kong police Chief Sin Sen said.

When the head monk said he had no such tusk to sell, the men said that he should call them if he obtained one.

Two days later, two other men arrived with what they said was a magic tusk, and offered to sell it for $17,000, police said.

When the monk called the first two men, they arrived with $15,000 in cash, and asked the monk to loan them the remaining $2,000, Sin Sen said.

When the monk said he didn’t have it, they drove him around in their car to borrow money from villagers, but to no avail.

The villagers informed police that they suspected the two men were trying to cheat the monk. Police later arrested the men.

Keo Sim, chief prosecutor of Koh Kong province, and In­ves­ti­gat­ing Judge Cheng Bunly de­clined to detain the men, saying no one had really been harmed.

Necklaces with tiger and crocodile fangs, boar tusks and ivory are be­lieved to bring the wearer good luck, strength and protection, ac­cording to retailers selling fangs for about $5 to $50 at Phnom Penh’s Phsar Tuol Tompong Tues­­­day.

The fangs considered to be most lucky have intricate carvings of Bud­­dha, said vendor Hak So­phe­ak.

(With additional reporting by Ka­­ren Hawkins)







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