Kratie Man Released After Free Land Rumor Quashed

A man accused of starting a spurious rumor in Kratie province about a government land giveaway, which lured hundreds of people to a Stung Treng village, was released on Wednesday after two days of questioning, police said on Thursday.

Kim Dambei, 34, told villagers that Stung Treng provincial governor Mom Saroeun would provide people with free state land, said Men Kung, a provincial spokesman.

By Monday morning, about 200 people from Kratie and Kompong Cham provinces had assembled at a primary school in Sesan district’s Kbal Romeas commune, believing the governor would discuss the land gifts, said Hou Sam Ol, provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc.

District governor Ponleu Mongkol, left with the task of explaining the ruse, told the crowd “there were bad people who had incited them to come here, saying that authorities would be providing land for villagers, but actually they were not providing any land.”

He added, “We have educated them so that they are not cheated by bad people again, and they agreed to return to their homes.”

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