Four people, including a 13-year-old boy, were arrested yesterday in Kampong Chhnang’s Boribor district for raising money for a pagoda’s annual ceremony but pocketing the cash for themselves.
Two women, 54-year-old Choub Sim and Mol Ang, 57, along with the boy and 54-year-old man Teb Heng, were walking around the district towing a cart filled with pictures of the Buddha and topped by an elaborate Buddhist parasol.
The group appealed for money and goods from villagers for a religious ceremony supposedly happening at the nearby Samaki Rainsy pagoda.
But commune chief Ben Sophan became suspicious, and promptly filed a complaint to police asking for the Ministry of Cult and Religion to intervene.
“When a [Ministry] official called the director of the pagoda and said there was no ceremony [at the pagoda] that day, they admitted to cheating the villagers and keeping the money for themselves,” he said.
Thoung Meak, head of the ministry’s department in Boribor district, said the villagers damaged religious values for money.
“They profited from cheating villagers and making them believe there was a Buddhist ceremony,” he said. “It really harms our religion.”