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Fraudsters try to scam local cults, departments

Fraudsters try to scam local cults, departments

The Ministry of Cults and Religion this week said it received at least three reports of people pretending to work for the ministry to scam local cults and religion departments in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, and has forwarded the case to the Ministry of Interior to take legal action against the fraudsters.

The ministry in a Tuesday statement said scammers were calling provincial departments and telling officials that Minister Him Chhem was raising money to build a pagoda and to arrange religious ceremonies – a scam that sullied the minister’s good name, they noted.

“They are lying by saying they are officials working in the Ministry of Cults and Religion and calling to raise money to build a pagoda and arranging religious events [and] requesting people to transfer the money via Wing or other banks for their own benefit,” the statement reads.

Ministry cabinet chief Chea Naret said the ministry has filed a complaint with the Ministry of Interior. He said at least three cases were reported in the capital and in Siem Reap.

The ministry became aware when provincial officials called the ministry for confirmation on the fundraising, he said. Officials weren’t able to specify how much money was being requested.

Similarly, two men dressed as monks and begging for money at a Pursat market were interrogated by provincial religion officials on Monday, according to Pursat police chief Chhorn Rith.

The ministry is now looking into that case, Naret said.

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