As the official campaign period for the June 4 commune elections kicked off today, the Ministry of Justice and one of its spokesmen confirmed their Facebook pages had been hacked by an unknown perpetrator, who used the pages to share posts of opposition party campaign events.
At around noon, the Ministry of Justice Facebook page re-shared a post from ex-Cambodia National Rescue Party president Sam Rainsy’s Facebook page of a livestream of the opposition campaigning in Phnom Penh.
The hack was confirmed this afternoon by Kim Santepheap, an undersecretary of state and spokesman for the Ministry of Justice, in a letter to National Police Chief Neth Saveoun.
“On 20 May, 2017, there was an anonymous hacking of the account of the Ministry of Justice Facebook page,” the letter reads, requesting action be taken to identify and arrest the perpetrators.
While not accusing the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), the letter makes note that after the hack the page disseminated content related to the activities of the CNRP.
In a separate letter, Santepheap confirmed that his own email account and Facebook page were also hacked.
Reached today, National Police spokesman Kirth Chantharith said he had not received the letter yet but confirmed authorities would investigate the incident.
“Generally when there is a case like this with a request … the national police commissioner always assigns the technical [experts] to investigate,” he said.
CNRP spokesman Yim Sovann today said the hack was “not a CNRP matter”, and said he hoped for a neutral and independent investigation.
“Let them investigate,” Sovann said, before adding that senior CNRP email accounts had also been hacked – including his own in early April – but were never investigated, though he noted complaints to the police were never filed.
“We did not need to waste time on that … We just announced it on Facebook,” he said.
As of press time, the Ministry of Justice’s Facebook page was still displaying Sam Rainsy posts.