A ministry of Interior official yesterday said the ministry is investigating and searching for three suspects – two Cambodian and one Thai – believed to have Photoshopped sexualised images of King Norodom Sihamoni and circulated them on social media.
Ministry of Interior spokesman Khieu Sopheak said the fake pictures, which prompted outcry on social media over the weekend, dishonour the King’s image.
“I found that two people in the country edited the photos and [a third] person is in Thailand, but I cannot give out details since they might escape,” he said, adding that they will be arrested.
The link to the original Facebook page that initially posted the altered photos wasn’t working yesterday.
Legal expert Sok Sam Oeun said that while the Cambodian constitution protects the King from insults, no punishment for insulting the King is specifically outlined in the criminal code.
Article 502 of the criminal code outlines punishment for insulting civil servants and public elected officials only.
“If there’s no punishment in the law, we cannot punish anybody,” he said. “Legally, we cannot extend the definition [to include] another crime. The law should be clear.”
Sam Oeun said this case will hopefully spark a conversation at the National Assembly to amend the law.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY YESENIA AMARO