A 14-year-old boy is in pre-trial detention after allegedly attempting to extort money via Facebook from Nam Phiron, a two-star general in the Prime Minister’s Bodyguard Unit.
Following his arrest on Saturday, Siek Chimi was charged with “extortion through Facebook”, said Ly Kosal, the teenager’s lawyer.
Article 364 of the Cambodian Criminal Code stipulates that a guilty verdict for extortion results in between two and five years in prison and the payment of a fine of between 4 and 10 million riel, or $800 and $2,500.
Chimi is accused of threatening to harm Phiron’s family and saying he would have the general removed from his job if he didn’t pay him. He allegedly had created multiple Facebook accounts for the purpose of extorting people.
Only Phiron has brought a complaint against him, Chimi’s lawyer Ly Kosal said.
Screenshots obtained by pro-government outlet Fresh News show what is purportedly one of Chimi’s proxy accounts demanding Phiron pay up to $10,000.
“He confessed [to the extortion] and there was no one behind him,” Kosal said.
A letter signed by Chimi’s parents on Sunday and published by local media begs for forgiveness, apologising for Chimi’s behaviour and claiming that the boy did not realise the criminality of his actions.
Under Cambodian law, defendants as young as 14 can be held criminally liable in court, though judges are required to expedite trials involving teenagers under the age of 18 to curtail the length of pre-trial detention.