The Ministry of Cults and Religion is investigating the actions of a man in Takeo province who has been passing himself off as a Buddha, duping villagers out of money, a scheme he has been arrested for in the past.
Ministry spokesman Seng Somony said a taskforce is investigating the actions of Thean Vuthy, who has been passing himself as a Buddha in Takeo after having done the same in Kandal province in 2014.
The ministry launched an investigation after photos of Mr Vuthy surfaced online, sitting on a throne pretending to be a Buddha with pictures of the late King Norodom Sihanouk beneath him along with worshippers.
“The ministry has already sent the religious taskforce committee and the officers in charge of Cults and Religion in Takeo province to see, inspect and investigate about his case,” Mr Somony said.
“After the completion of the investigation, if we have found that he has really committed wrongdoing, we will take legal action against him.”
Keo Sarom, a penal police officer worked with Prey Kabas district police, said that Mr Vuthy was charged with fraud in 2014 in Kandal but later released after admitting his mistakes and promising not to do it again.
“But after he was released, he moved from Kandal province to live in Takeo province and he has resumed his job as a fake Buddha,” he said. “His activities negatively affect the state’s religion.”
Mr Vuthy could not be reached for comment yesterday.