Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Predicted ‘doomsday’ flops, sect followers trickling home

Predicted ‘doomsday’ flops, sect followers trickling home

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Siem Reap provincial authorities meet with LDP representatives (right) on August 30. SIEM REAP ADMINISTRATION

Predicted ‘doomsday’ flops, sect followers trickling home

More people who believed in doomsday predictions by Khem Veasna – the outspoken president of the League for Democracy Party (LDP) who recently pronounced himself “universe protecting brahma” – have begun to disband and return home as six of LDP staunch activists have come forward to admit mistakes for helping mobilise the followers at Kulen Mountain.

Veasna’s doomsday claims and call for mass gathering at his sprawling plantation to escape the purported apocalypse had attracted tens of thousands of his supporters, not only those within the country but also many others who have been working abroad, notably in South Korea, Japan and Thailand.

The move had aroused concerns among senior labour officials who feared that this could affect the honour of Cambodian migrant workers at large and tarnish the country’s image as a whole.

The followers first began vacating Veasna’s farm in Siem Reap province’s Banteay Srei district on August 30 on the order of the provincial authorities, who gave them an ultimatum to leave or face legal action.

Provincial hall spokesman Liv Sokhon said on September 1 that they have returned home because they had lost faith as there were no floods as predicted by Veasna.

“On August 30, a small number of followers returned to their homes, but on August 31 an estimated 1,000 followers left the plantation. More and more have abandoned the site since,” he added.

Speaking at the gathering, Sokhon said provincial authorities have prepared trucks to take them back home and have also prepared ambulances, fire engines and provided them with food.

He said authorities were not permitting entrance to the plantation and were only allowing people to depart. Most of Veasna’s more superstitious followers were slow to leave, with some core LDP members remaining on site.

The six staunch LDP activists have signed a letter admitting their mistakes and promising not to repeat their offence.

“We admit that we are wrong for organising the August 23-30 gathering at the 12ha plantation and the 25ha of land which belongs to [LDP member] Ny Chan Pinith in Tbeng commune’s Thmar Chul village,” said their letter.

Chan Pinith told The Post that a team had told the followers to abandon the site; however, there are some who seemed reluctant to leave because of personal matters.

“I do not know how many have left and how many remain. That being said, I have noticed an uptick in the number of departures,” he said.

“I have informed them that the provincial authorities had had instructed the gathering to disband, so those who stay are now personally responsible for their own decisions. I have warned people that we do not have enough rice and food to feed all of the attendees,” he added.

On August 31, Prime Minister Hun Sen ordered the provincial administration to closely monitor the situation and called on the public not to maintain tolerance and refrain from discriminating against the followers.

“I call on the authorities – as well as the armed forces – to check that the site is hygienic and that no disease is present. I also call on family members and local residents who have a difference in opinion over Veasna’s call to gather not discriminate against the followers,” he said.

Labour ministry spokesman Heng Sour said that from August 23-25 August, at least 500 Cambodian workers had returned to Cambodia from abroad. Among them, over 400 had returned from South Korea and around 100 from Japan.

Sour called on them to be careful and not to believe in superstitions in the future.

“The abandoning of jobs by these followers has affected the honour and the reputation of all workers from Cambodia. This has in turn had a detrimental effect on those Cambodians who are seeking employment in South Korea and Japan. More importantly, their activities have affected their and the relationships with their family members,” he said.

Chea Sokny


  • Wing Bank opens new branch in front of Orkide The Royal along Street 2004

    Wing Bank celebrates first anniversary as commercial bank with launch of brand-new branch. One year since officially launching with a commercial banking licence, Wing Bank on March 14 launched a new branch in front of Orkide The Royal along Street 2004. The launch was presided over by

  • Girl from Stung Meanchey dump now college grad living in Australia

    After finishing her foundational studies at Trinity College and earning a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Melbourne in 2022, Ron Sophy, a girl who once lived at the Stung Meanchey garbage dump and scavenged for things to sell, is now working at a private

  • Ministry orders all schools, public and private, to close for SEA Games

    From April 20 to May 18, all public and private educational institutions will be closed to maintain order and support Cambodia's hosting of the 32nd SEA Games and 12th ASEAN Para Games, said a directive from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport. Cambodia will host the

  • Wat Phnom hornbills attract tourists, locals

    Thanks to the arrival of a friendly flock of great hornbills, Hour Rithy, a former aviculturist – or raiser of birds – in Kratie province turned Phnom Penh tuk tuk driver, has seen a partial return to his former profession. He has become something of a guide

  • Almost 9K tourists see equinox sunrise at Angkor Wat

    Nearly 9,000 visitors – including 2,226 international tourists – gathered at Angkor Wat on March 21 to view the spring equinox sunrise, according to a senior official of the Siem Reap provinical tourism department. Ngov Seng Kak, director of the department, said a total of 8,726 people visited Angkor Wat to

  • Angkor Beer strengthens national pride with golden new look and fresher taste

    Angkor Beer – the "Gold of Angkor" – has a new look, one that is more stylish and carries a premium appeal, as well as a fresher taste and smoother flavour, making it the perfect choice for any gathering. Angkor Beer recently launched its new design, one