A Cambodian migrant worker faces up to five years in prison after being charged over the weekend with crimes stemming from an alleged death threat made against Prime Minister Hun Sen in a Facebook video.
Phnom Penh Municipal Court investigating judge Kor Vandy charged Sam Pheap, also known as Ven Sopheap, 27, with making a death threat, incitement and incitement to discrimination, court spokesperson Ly Sophanna said yesterday.
A warrant for his arrest was issued on October 18 for allegedly “insulting” and “looking down on the life” of the prime minister.
Prior to his arrest on Thursday, Pheap had allegedly posted a video on a Facebook page under the name “Sopheap Konkhmer” announcing he would travel from his workplace in Thailand to register to vote in his home province of Prey Veng.
Both police and court officials yesterday remained tight-lipped on the exact nature of the alleged threat, but in a video posted on another Facebook Page, also using the Sopheap Konkhmer moniker and featuring a photo of the accused, an unseen voice refers to a plastic baby doll as “Hun Sen”.
The toy, wrapped in white cloth, stands next to a clump of incense sticks, which the voice in the video threatens to set alight.
“Hun Sen, this is the last moment of your life. The body of Hun Sen will melt like this,” the voice says. “If you do good things, you receive good. But if you do wrong, you will receive bad things. This is your last life and you should walk away from being prime minister.”
The creator of the video, uploaded on July 16, remains unknown. In posts on Pheap’s personal Facebook page, he has repeatedly criticised the government for allegedly ceding land to Vietnam and called the premier “shameless” for taking out millions in loans from China.
The incitement to discrimination charge, which hinges on the accused being malicious or violent against a person based on their ethnicity, race or religion, carries a maximum sentence of three years, while the death threat could see Pheap imprisoned for a further two years.