Two Malaysians die in medical ritual

Thu Oct 2, 2008 11:03pm EDT
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KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Two Malaysians died and one was severely injured in a ritual designed to help a man overcome his chain-smoking habit and to rid his wife of her asthma and liver diseases.

State news agency Bernama reported that four close relatives smashed the couple's heads on a table and beat them with crash helmets and brooms as part of a ritual to help them overcome their health problems.

Kuala Lumpur CID chief Ku Chin Wah said the ritual was suggested by the relatives who the couple visited as part of celebrations to mark the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, where they complained of their ill-health.

"Following this, a 23-year-old male relative suggested that the couple undergo a ritual which involved all family members joining forces to beat up the couple to rid them of their ailments," Ku told reporters on Thursday, according to Bernama.

The 15-year-old daughter of one of the four assailants walked in on the ritual, was severely beaten and was admitted to hospital, Ku said.

(Reporting by David Chance; Editing by Jeremy Laurence)