CAMBODIA – A hundreds-strong mob of angry villagers in Takeo province on Sunday beat and stoned a man to death based on the belief that he was a sorcerer responsible for the unexplained demise of nine community members since 2012, police said.
Just after dusk on Sunday, some 500 vengeful residents of Prey Lounh village in Bati district pulled 34-year-old Pov Sovann out of his father-in-law’s house, according to Khouth Lou, Bati district police chief. They then rained down blows on his body and finished him off by hitting him with stones.
“The police did not arrive in time since there are many people, but we protected the body after it was taken out of the house,” he said.
“It was illegal what they did, and police are targeting some suspects. It was a spite-driven mob killing, and it was very violent and cruel.”
So far, no one has been arrested or charged, but police are investigating the case and trying to determine who led the mob before making their next move.
Allegations of sorcery and wizardry in Cambodia can mean, in the most benign of situations, social exile for the accused person, and in the worst of cases, deadly mob violence.
Chev Chenda, 30, the victim’s wife, said her husband was only a traditional healer, “My husband was not a wizard,” she said, before describing the incident to the Post.
“The body was beaten with sticks and rocks were thrown at it, so there was terrible damage. I knew the ones who killed my husband and I will get justice for him through the law.”
She added that her husband only gave villagers traditional herbal medicine when asked, and he never wronged them.
Lou, the district police chief, said villagers blamed nine deaths that have occurred in the village over the past two years on supposed spells cast by Sovann.