A former police official was briefly detained and “educated” yesterday morning for criticising the leader of the National Police on Facebook.
Keo Saravuth, a former deputy commune police chief in Meanchey district, was arrested near his home in the capital’s Russey Keo district yesterday.
According to National Police spokesman Kirth Chantharith, Saravuth was arrested for posting on Facebook that “the old general police chief [Hok Lundy] protected the subordinates, but new general police chief [Neth Savoeun] does not help the subordinates”.
“The above statement affects the reputation and dignity of the leader, as he is a police official who committed crimes and violated the law,” Chantharith said.
Chantharith was referring to the fact that Saravuth was fired from the police force in 2016 after being caught faking a family book with the district police chief seal in exchange for $80.
In his Facebook post, Saravuth accused National Police chief Savoeun of unfairly arresting and punishing people for “small mistakes”.
The government has been stepping up prosecutions for online speech over the past year in a trend that human rights advocates have called troubling. Earlier this week, the Ministry of Information held a meeting to discuss how to clamp down on “fake news” on social media.
Chantharith said Saravuth was released yesterday after authorities told him to stop criticising public figures.
“In this case, the authorities just detained him for education – it is not an arrest,” Chantharith said.