A gathering to wait for the end of the world is effectively over even as around 1,000 supporters remain inside politician Khem Veasna’s farm, officials said.
Veasna had predicted floods that would wipe out Earth except his farm, drawing thousands of devotees to his Siem Reap property.
Authorities last week set a 5:30 p.m. Monday deadline for Veasna’s doomsday gathering to disband, and said today that they had needed to take no action as the moment had passed and the situation settled.
Siem Reap deputy provincial governor Ly Samreth said around 6 p.m. that authorities had gone inside the farm on Monday and took names and headcounts. There were around 1,000 people still inside, but they were regular supporters of Veasna’s League for Democracy Party and not a threat.
“There is no more gathering based on belief [in the end of the world.] It’s already over,” Samreth said, adding that authorities would continue to monitor the situation.
Tbeng commune chief Seab Pha said people who had gathered outside the farm had already gone home.
Veasna, however, has continued to post global news of flooding to his Facebook page. “This is flooding around the world, which is trusted information, not from brahma protecting the universe,” he wrote cryptically on Monday.
Over the weekend, Veasna was seen driving into a Siem Reap city coffee shop. A video posted by Angkor Flash News on Sunday showed him raising his palm at people from a distance as if trying to repel them.
During the morning on Monday, provincial information department director Liv Sokhon said Veasna had initially wanted to continue his gathering until the end of the month, but after negotiations last week had agreed to scale it back by September 5.
“The remaining people are those with low risk. The people with families, with financial difficulties, or those who listened to the authorities have left,” Sokhon said.
Additional reporting by Phin Rathana