Oddar Meanchey Provincial Court yesterday charged a traditional healer with cheating a farming couple out of about $5,300 in riel, about $156 in Thai baht and a gold necklace worth $1,500, which she took to treat the woman and her three-year-old son in Samrong city.
Major Khem Sophon, city deputy police chief, identified the accused as Hoeng Nath, 39, living in Bosbov commune.
He said Ms Nath was arrested on Sunday and is charged with fraud. She faces up to three years in jail if convicted and is now in prison pending trial.
Maj Sophon said that the accused was arrested following a complaint from the farmer Lam Sary, 48, and his wife Kloeuy Sros, 45, who also live in the commune.
He said that on January 5, Mr Sary brought Ms Srosh, who suffered from nightmares, and their son who had polio and convulsions, to see Ms Nath, who was a well-known traditional healer in the commune.
Maj Sophon said that during the meeting the accused told the victims to place 21.1 million riels, 5,000 Thai bahts and the gold necklace on a seat in her house so that she could use them to invite spirits to treat Ms Srosh and the child.
He said that Ms Nath told the victims that the treatment would take a week after which they could reclaim the money and necklace.
Maj Sophon said that on Saturday, when both patients were still not feeling better, Mr Sary and Ms Sros went back to see Ms Nath in her home and demanded the return of their money and necklace.
“When the plaintiffs demanded their money and jewellery back, the accused did not have their belongings,” he said. “She told them that the money and gold necklace had disappeared and that she was not responsible for the loss.”
Maj Sophon noted that later that day the couple filed a complaint with penal police in the city who arrested Ms Nath at about 2.30pm on Sunday.
He added that during her interrogation the accused admitted committing the offence.
Maj Sophon said Ms Nath told police that she had given the money and necklace to her children so that they could settle a bank debt.
He added that the accused promised to return the money and necklace to the victims.