Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Arrest over fake kidnap rumours



Arrest over fake kidnap rumours

Police Chief Neth Savoeun attends a press conference yesterday to discuss recent false kidnapping rumours proliferating across the Kingdom.
Police Chief Neth Savoeun attends a press conference yesterday to discuss recent false kidnapping rumours proliferating across the Kingdom. Heng Chivoan

Arrest over fake kidnap rumours

A teacher and opposition activist who made spurious claims on Facebook that two Vietnamese men had kidnapped children and cut out their kidneys and eyes is now facing up to two years in prison after he was arrested on Saturday and charged with spreading false information.

Kampong Thom Provincial Court Investigating Judge Heng Sokchea on Sunday charged Nay Sineng, 33, with “the communication or disclosure of any false information with a view to inducing a belief that a destruction, defacement or damage dangerous to other persons will be carried out” and sent him to pre-trial detention.

Sineng, who is an activist for the Cambodia National Rescue Party, wrote on Facebook that “three Vietnamese people kidnapped the children to yank out their kidney and eyes, and two of them were captured by the people”, though the account was disputed by police.

“Please be careful with your children since they are very wild,” the activist wrote, adding the “disclaimer” that: “We are not racist, but we hate this activity that these guys have committed against innocent children.”

Kampong Thom Police Chief Ouk Kosal said that the men – who he said were from Prey Veng province’s Kampong Trabek district – were not Vietnamese or kidnappers. He said monks had reported them as suspicious to police, who had begun to question them when they tried to flee and were beaten bloody by an angry mob.

CNRP spokesman Yim Sovann said he hoped authorities would conduct an “independent investigation” into the case but distanced the opposition party from any racial rhetoric. “We appeal to all Cambodian people to post the facts, the true happenings, not to create a culture of violence, defamation and things that are not good for society,” he said.

Another man was also beaten in Preah Sihanouk province on Saturday over false kidnapping claims. The rash of such claims – with 32 reports in the past fortnight – came after the abduction and subsequent return of an 8-year-old girl from her Phnom Penh school on June 23.

Police are still investigating the case, in which the girl was convinced by a stranger to leave. She was later returned to school unharmed.

At a press conference yesterday in Phnom Penh, National Police spokesman Kirth Chantharith addressed the spiralling rumours, which the government has been denying in statements for the last few weeks.

“For a month now, there are individuals and groups with bad intentions to provoke or broadcast the untrue information about the child kidnapping,” he said, stressing that the claims was false.

MOST VIEWED

  • Phnom Penh curfew starts today

    A two-week curfew from 8pm to 5am starts today in Phnom Penh, a day after a sub-decree detailing administrative measures to contain Covid-19 was issued by Prime Minister Hun Sen. “Travelling in Phnom Penh is temporally banned between 8pm and 5am,” said Phnom Penh governor

  • Covid in Kingdom hits ‘critical point’

    The Covid-19 situation in Cambodia has reached a critical point, the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned, as cases surge with two more deaths and 265 infections reported over the weekend. On March 28 alone, the Ministry of Health recorded 86 Covid-19 cases linked to the February 20

  • Cambodia gears up for muted New Year festival

    The recent curfew and restrictions imposed in the capital and other Covid-19 hotspots were intended to break the chain of transmission, Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said as municipal and provincial authorities issued new directives banning certain activities during the upcoming Khmer New Year

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Cambodia set for large-scale vaccination campaign as Covid spreads

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has instructed all provincial authorities to get ready for a large-scale vaccination campaign, with at least one million doses to be administered per month. “We will roll out at least one million doses. The vaccines we have purchased and received as

  • Time to Rise by rapper, chapei legend is viral hit with ancient-modern mix

    Kong Nay is known internationally as the master of the chapei dang veng, a traditional Cambodian instrument resembling a long-necked lute or guitar with two nylon strings that he was already playing professionally by the age of 15. Nay is sometimes referred to as the Cambodian