Mother Denies Her Son Supported Khem Veasna Before Death

2 min read
An aerial view of the camp set up at the Siem Reap farmstead of League for Democracy Party president Khem Veasna, who has drawn thousands of his followers with an apocalyptic prophecy. Photo posted to the LDP News Facebook page on Thursday, September 1, 2022.

The mother of a 20-year-old who died by suicide on Monday denied a report that he had gone to politician Khem Veasna’s farm fearing the end of the world.

Matt Nop, 43, said her son was on a long-planned trip to Siem Reap last week with his uncles, coinciding with Veasna’s prophecy about flooding that would swallow all of Earth except his farm. The president of the League for Democracy Party has turned himself a self-styled holy figure.

But her son Marn Matt, 20, was not a Veasna devotee, Nop said in tears on Tuesday, denying a news story that he died by suicide after the family criticized him for going to the farm.

“I can say he is not an LDP supporter. He is a good child and a good student. … He loves his family, friends, and neighbors. And everyone loves him back,” the mother said. “It might be a misunderstanding here. Of course, his father did tell him that he should have not been to Siem Reap at this time because people could get confused that he went there to gather at Khem Veasna’s farm.”

“He is gone now. Please let him rest peacefully up there.”

Sem Saroeun, chief of Toul Khpos commune in Kampong Chhnang, said as far as he was aware the son had not gone to Veasna’s farm. “He and his family are not LDP supporters. And his family loves him so much. But from what I know, he probably had a family issue rather than political reasons.”

Local media outlet Fresh News on Monday cited Tuek Phos district police chief Khem Vibol as saying the son had gone to Veasna’s farm before his suicide. Vibol said on Tuesday that he was busy and declined to comment.

Mental health professionals and journalism experts have questioned the prominence of news reporting about suicides in Cambodia, saying the issue should be treated with greater sensitivity.

The topic should be considered a public health issue, and when others are struggling with their mental health, people should ask and listen without judgment, and encourage them to see a mental health professional, they said.

Mental health resources in Cambodia:

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