PHNOM PENH, Cambodia – A Cambodian man who claimed to have a magic cure for women worried about the fidelity of their partners was charged Tuesday with rape and child sexual abuse.
Police said that Ros Sarin, 56, had established himself 15 years ago as having magic powers that women could avail to ensure true love from their husbands or boyfriends.
Lt. Gen. Sao Sokha, the chief of military police, said the man was arrested Sunday after the Phnom Penh Municipal Court received a complaint from a woman claiming she had been raped during a consultation.
Sok Rouen, a prosecutor of the court, had Ros Sarin charged Tuesday with a dozen counts of rape and child sexual abuse.
The newspaper Reaksmei Kampuchea reported Tuesday that the man had conducted his activities in a secluded corner of a Buddhist pagoda, 20 miles north of the capital Phnom Penh.
It said that when his clients visited, they were first required to swear an oath in front of Buddha's statue that they would not reveal what went on inside.
They were then allegedly put in a locked room, given a drink claimed to be water but meant to increase their sexual appetite, shown a sex video while Ros Sarin chanted, and then raped.
The newspaper cited officials who asked not to be named saying that more than 100 women and girls had been raped by the suspect.
Belief in magic for good and evil is widespread in many countries of Southeast Asia, and often associated with local practices of Buddhism, though black magic is not part of the religion.
Similar cases surface occasionally in neighboring Thailand.
Hang Samouen, 43, alleged to be a confederate of the suspect, was arrested and charged Tuesday with conspiracy, Sao Sokha said.