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

  • ‘Kingdom one of safest to visit in Covid-19 era’

    The Ministry of Tourism on January 12 proclaimed Cambodia as one of the safest countries to visit in light of the Kingdom having been ranked number one in the world by the Senegalese Economic Prospective Bureau for its success in handling the Covid-19 pandemic. In rankings

  • Ministry mulls ASEAN+3 travel bubble

    The Ministry of Tourism plans to launch a travel bubble allowing transit between Cambodia and 12 other regional countries in a bid to resuscitate the tourism sector amid crushing impact of the ongoing spread of Covid-19, Ministry of Tourism spokesman Top Sopheak told The Post on

  • Reeling in Cambodia’s real estate sector

    A new norm sets the scene but risks continue to play out in the background A cold wind sweeps through the streets of Boeung Trabek on an early January morning as buyers and traders engage in commerce under bright blue skies. From a distance, the

  • Quarantine site in north Phnom Penh inaugurated

    A four-building quarantine centre in Phnom Penh’s Prek Pnov district was formally inaugurated on January 6. The centre can house up to 500 people, according to Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng. At the inauguration ceremony, Sreng said the municipal hall had cooperated with the Ministry

  • More than 5K workers rush from Thailand amid outbreak

    Following the recent outbreak of Covid-19 in Thailand’s Samut Sakhon province, Cambodian migrants working in Thailand were gripped by worry over the situation and many rushed to return to their homeland. Over the past 10 days, more than 5,000 migrant workers have returned from Thailand through

  • ‘Beware of WhatsApp fraudsters’

    The Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications warned members of the public who use WhatsApp to vigilantly guard against a new trick employed by hackers that involves the use of six-digit codes sent to potential victims via the popular messaging app. The ministry said hackers could