Police Arrest Poipet Woman for Spreading Rumors

Military police in Banteay Meanchey province on Monday arrested a 45-year-old woman for causing “turmoil” in Poipet City by claiming to be a relative of Prime Minister Hun Sen and spreading rumors that a local land dealer would soon be made governor of the border town.

Try Nat Baraing was apprehended at a restaurant in Poipet City’s Phsar Kandal commune while attempting to convince the other diners that her friend Ork Sophan, 53, would replace city governor Ngor Mengchruon, according to provincial military police commander Or Borin. Mr. Sophan was also arrested on Monday, he said.

Brigadier General Borin said Ms. Nat Baraing, who also worked as a land dealer, had spent the past several days visiting restaurants, cafes and shops around town in an effort to convince their patrons that Mr. Sophan’s ascendency was inevitable, all the while claiming to be the second cousin of the prime minister and referring to herself as “Excellency.”

“We arrested her yesterday because she spread rumors that she was the relative of high-ranking officials,” he said.

“This woman caused turmoil around the city and in the whole of the province by trying to promote someone to become the new city governor,” he added.

Brig. Gen. Borin said Ms. Nat Baraing was being held at the provincial military police headquarters and would be sent to the provincial court for questioning tomorrow.

Mr. Sophan, he said, was in custody at Poipet City military police station, where he told investigators that despite having no political experience, he had become convinced by his friend’s assertions that he would become governor.

“We questioned him and he said he believed her because she claimed she would invite Samdech Techo [Mr. Hun Sen] to join the [handover] ceremony,” Brig. Gen. Borin said.

Mr. Mengchruon, the Poipet City governor, said Tuesday that he had heard about the arrest of Ms. Nat Baraing, and supported the decision to detain her.

“Her activity affected public order and the honor of high-ranking government officials. The authorities have the right to arrest her,” he said.

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