Two travelling salesmen were questioned by the Takeo Provincial Court yesterday over allegations that one of them had claimed to be a son of the beloved late King Father Norodom Sihanouk in order to trick elderly villagers into buying “magic” trinkets, police said.
Chhum Chheurn, police chief of Takeo’s Prey Kabbas district, identified one suspect as Chem Phoan, 55, a resident of Sa’ang district in Kandal province, but identified the other 63-year-old suspect – a resident of Kandal’s Takhmao town – only by the fake name he had allegedly been using, Norodom Rotha.
“Both suspects can get around $30 to $50 by selling that stuff to old people who are superstitious,” Chheurn said.
The two reportedly told the authorities that they had been to Prey Kabbas district 10 times already, and that they had made one or two sales on each trip.
The men were accused of selling such items as necklaces, boar tusks, rings, tiny stones and beads.
Some of the items were billed as offering protection to buyers’ homes. One ring, the men allegedly told villagers, would turn to gold after a few months, bringing the buyer wealth.