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‘Death threat’ charges

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday formally charged a man accused of posting a death threat on Facebook aimed at prominent Cambodian academic Sok Touch.

Deputy prosecutor Seang Sok said Phorng Seyha, a 27-year-old construction worker from Ba Phnom district’s Sdao Kong commune in Prey Veng province, was charged with “threatening to kill” under article 233 of the penal code and sent to Prey Sar prison.

“If found guilty, he shall be punished with imprisonment from six months to two years,” Sok added.

Seyha allegedly threatened to kill Sok Touch, head of the Royal Academy of Cambodia’s border research team, in August, according to Sun Sokly, an internal security police officer at Phnom Penh municipal police.

Touch, investigating the demarcation of the border with Vietnam, has reportedly received several threats related to his work, a politically charged issue.

Sokly said Seyha was transferred to Phnom Penh after being arrested on September 5 by Banteay Meanchey provincial police while trying to cross from Thailand into Cambodia at the Poipet border crossing.

Yesterday, opposition spokesman Yim Sovann noted the difference between Seyha’s swift arrest and the unsolved case of a death threat aimed at CNRP deputy president Kem Sokha in 2013.

In that case, National Police officer Peng Vannak was questioned but no action was taken.

Interior Ministry spokesman General Khieu Sopheak yesterday said Vannak had told officers the Facebook account with his name was a fake, but that the investigation was continuing.

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