A rumour shared on Facebook that Prime Minister Hun Sen had died during a recent medical trip to Singapore has provoked a threat of legal action against its creator from an aide to the premier.
The Facebook post, titled “news of death” and shared on Tuesday on an account registered under the name Kim Bopha, shows what appears to be Hun Sen laying in a coffin overlain with text that reads, “Hun Sen died after being cursed by the Khmer citizens in 2014. Please [may he] be in the seventh hell. Even if he has died, he will suffer forever!”
The post has garnered over 600 likes and 400 shares.
Ananda Yath, an adviser to Hun Sen, threatened legal action over the post.
“If an individual libels the prime minister’s life, it is illegal. It means that [the individual] has attempted murder. Criticism is a normal thing. But libel is illegal. We must have a limit,” Ananda Yath said.
Hun Sen responded to the rumour himself in a post on his own Facebook page.
“Based on research, all of you are the activists of a political party led by evil men and professional cheaters. They trained evil children to hate society. When there are problems, they have always fled and left lower level [people] to be jailed instead,” he wrote, in an apparent reference to opposition leader Sam Rainsy.
While Yath said that he had not led a complaint against the user, Hun Sen has warned that those who insult him on social media could face arrest.