Kampong Speu Provincial Court yesterday charged a farmer with beheading a man he claimed was a sorcerer who cast a spell on him and his family members in Phnom Sruoch district.
District police chief Colonel Say Bunthan identified the accused as Chin Chun, 54, who is charged with premeditated murder over the death of Hem Yim, 66, a fellow farmer from the district’s Treng Trayoeung commune.
Mr Chun faces life in jail if convicted and is now in prison pending his trial.
Col Bunthan noted that the accused was caught by villagers and handed over to police shortly after using a sickle to behead the victim in the commune’s Pring village at about 5.30am on Friday.
In a police report, Mr Yim’s wife Sorn Suth, 56, described her husband as a good man and denied the accused’s claims that he was a sorcerer.
She said that on the day of murder, her husband went outside the house to light a fire for cooking.
“While I was sitting in the house, I heard the sound of a beating and my husband’s cries for help,” she said. “When I went outside, I saw the accused running away with a sickle in his hand and my husband’s beheaded body on the ground.”
Ms Suth added that she shouted for help and villagers went to the accused’s house and found him hiding there.
Captain Mom Kimsan, a district police officer, said yesterday that during his interrogation, Mr Chun admitted killing Mr Yim and said he did so because he was angry with him for casting a spell on him and his family members.
“He accused the victim of being a sorcerer who cast a spell to make them ill,” Cap Kimsan noted. “In revenge, he went to the victim’s house, crept up behind him while he was preparing a fire and slashed him.”