A false report claiming Prime Minister Hun Sen had been assassinated was posted to Fresh News’ Facebook page early yesterday morning, prompting the pro-government website to blame foreign hackers and a government spokesman to push for a controversial cybercrime law.
The post was published on Fresh News’ Facebook page, which boasts more than 2 million subscribers, and was up for several hours yesterday morning before being taken down at around 9am, according to Fresh News CEO Lim Cheavutha.
Cheavutha said yesterday that the hackers’ IP addresses showed they were from the US and Canada. Changing an IP address is possible using online tools, such as a virtual private network (VPN).
Chea Pov, head of the Interior Ministry’s anti-cybercrime unit, said his group was investigating the hack and planned to reach out to Interpol for assistance.
Hun Sen took to Facebook yesterday to rebut the story, posting that the news was “fabricated with bad intentions to cause chaos”.
The incident prompted Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan to call for the review and implementation of a draft cybercrime law.
A draft of the controversial law has been circulated since 2012 and has gone through several iterations but has been criticised in the past for articles that observers say would give the government broad latitude to restrict online expression.