More and more people who believed in the doomsday predictions of Khem Veasna – the outspoken chairman of the League for Democracy Party (LDP) who recently spoke out as “the universe protecting Brahma” – began to dissolve and to return home as six loyal LDP activists came forward. admit mistakes for helping mobilize Kulen Mountain supporters.
Veasna’s apocalyptic claims and his call for a mass gathering at his vast plantation to escape the supposed apocalypse had attracted tens of thousands of his followers, not only those at home, but also many others who worked abroad. , notably in South Korea, Japan and Thailand. .
The move had raised concerns among senior labor officials who feared it would damage the honor of Cambodian migrant workers as a whole and tarnish the image of the country as a whole.
Supporters began leaving Veasna Farm in Banteay Srei district of Siem Reap province on August 30 on orders from provincial authorities, who gave them an ultimatum to leave or face legal action.
Provincial hall spokesman Liv Sokhon said on September 1 that they had returned home because they had lost their faith as there had been no flooding as predicted by Veasna.
“On August 30, a small number of followers returned home, but on August 31, about 1,000 followers left the plantation. More and more people have since abandoned the site,” he added.
Speaking at the rally, Sokhon said provincial authorities prepared trucks to take them home and also prepared ambulances, fire trucks and provided them with food.
He said the authorities did not allow entry to the plantation and only allowed people to leave. Most of Veasna’s more superstitious supporters were slow to leave, with some senior LDP members staying put.
The six fervent PLD activists signed a letter acknowledging their mistakes and promising not to repeat their offense.
“We admit that we are wrong to have organized the gathering from August 23 to 30 at the 12 ha plantation and the 25 ha of land which belong to [LDP member] Ny Chan Pinith in Thmar Chul village of Tbeng commune,” their letter reads.
Chan Pinith told the Post that a team told subscribers to abandon the site; however, some seemed reluctant to leave for personal reasons.
“I don’t know how many have left and how many are staying. That being said, I have noticed an increase in the number of departures,” he said.
“I informed them that the provincial authorities had ordered the gathering to disband, so those who remain are now personally responsible for their own decisions. I warned people that we didn’t have enough rice and food to feed all the participants,” he added.
On August 31, Premier 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 supporters.
“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 different opinion on the Veasna’s call to come together and not discriminate against supporters,” he said.
Labor Ministry spokesman Heng Sour said that from August 23 to 25, at least 500 Cambodian workers had returned to Cambodia from abroad. Among them, more than 400 had returned from South Korea and a hundred from Japan.
Sour called on them to be careful and not to believe in superstitions in the future.
“The abandonment of jobs by these followers damaged the honor and reputation of all workers in Cambodia. This in turn has had a detrimental effect on Cambodians seeking employment in South Korea and Japan. More importantly, their activities have affected their relationships and those with their family members,” he said.