Thousands of Khem Veasna Devotees to Head Home Unless World Ends

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Khem Veasna, right, interacts with supporters who have made their way to his Siem Reap plantation on August 26, 2022. (Khem Veasna’s Facebook page)
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Thousands of people are estimated to have gathered at a politician’s farm in Siem Reap to avoid world disaster — but are expected to be sent home tomorrow unless flooding swallows Earth.

Khem Veasna, president of the League of Democracy Party, has taken a sharper religious turn in recent years, dropping out of this year’s commune election and declaring himself brahma, or heavenly king.

Last Tuesday, he began posting online about a black hole forming within his spine that was telling him about a looming apocalypse. He continued posting about strange signs appearing in the sky: all of them omens of an approaching flood that would swallow all of Earth — except for his farm in Siem Reap province.

On Friday, the Cambodian Embassy in South Korea warned that migrant workers were abandoning their jobs in panic and seeking to fly home to Cambodia.

“This sudden return without the permission from their companies is illegal and they face joblessness,” the embassy said.

Labor Ministry spokesman Heng Sour also cautioned online that workers hurrying home were jeopardizing their future employment. “People doing this won’t be able to go to Korean again,” Sour wrote.

Veasna’s farm is a gated plot in Banteay Srei district’s Tbeng commune, near the Phnom Kulen mountain.

Pur Loy, Thmar Chul village’s 50-year-old chief, said people began gathering there starting last Tuesday — almost as soon as Veasna began posting his prophecies. They arrived day and night, apparently from all over Cambodia, setting up tents inside the farm and sleeping in a nearby pagoda.

Loudspeakers were set up outside the farm’s gates so people could listen to Veasna preach from 1-7 p.m. every afternoon and evening, Loy said.

Veasna’s devotees were bringing their families along with them, he said, estimating thousands had now gathered — Loy estimated 17,000 people, including some returning from South Korea, but this could not be verified.

“They are scared and just come along — they come day and night — their families and their elderly parents,” Loy said.

Loun Lyna, who owned a restaurant in the village, said she had been flooded with customers since the prophecy, and was doing quite well.

“I haven’t asked them why they were coming,” Lyna said, adding that she was happy about the apocalyptic bump in business.

On Saturday, provincial governor Tea Seiha visited Veasna’s compound to negotiate, according to village chief Loy. Pro-government Fresh News also reported that Hun Manith — the premier’s son — also joined.

According to Loy, as a result of the negotiations Veasna is to send home the worshippers on August 30, or Tuesday this week.

Cults and Religions Ministry spokesperson Seng Somony said people were free to believe whatever religion they wanted, but the gathering was getting a little too large.

Religious gatherings over 100 people needed permission, he said, adding that the number of people quickly coming together could be a sign of panic.

The situation was a first for Cambodia, he continued, and cast doubt on Veasna’s prophecy.

“I don’t know if this is a lie or not, or he just wants people to know about his plantation. We don’t know what the principles are,” Somony said. “We can’t blame him if the brahma told him about it, but this is not about brahma. This is about Khem Veasna. … Many people believe him and don’t know what they are eating.”

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