PHNOM PENH —
The National Police have dismissed rumors circulating on Cambodian social media of a kidnapping ring operating in the country to harvest people’s organs.
Kirt Chantharith, a police spokesman, said the rumors were started by a “group with bad intentions” that had taken to Facebook to spread “false information” leading to “serious concerns and misunderstandings”.
“There is no such kidnapping case and people should not be concerned about it. We would also ask social media users, especially Facebook users, to be more cautious and careful. There is true and false information on Facebook,” he said.
He added that people spreading the fake news on Facebook could face legal action.
On Sunday, a man identified as an opposition activist using the Facebook name Nay Sineng was arrested after claiming of Facebook that “Vietnamese people kidnapped kids for organ harvesting in Kampong Thom province.”
Chantharith said the post was in reference to a Vietnamese national involved in a theft, not kidnapping. After questioning Sineng, Chantharith said the authorities released him without charge.
Yim Sovann, an opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party spokesman, said he supported a “fair investigation without political interests” into the case.
So Chantha, a political scientist, said the spreading of rumors could be intended to stir up chaos ahead of a general election scheduled for July 29.
He added that detaining social media users could “contribute to restricting the freedoms of those who want to share their opinions and concerns.”