Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Man charged for insulting Khmers

Man charged for insulting Khmers

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Police brought a man, known as Champei Khmao to the PP court yesterday. Supplied

Man charged for insulting Khmers

A man who caused a furore on Facebook with a video tirade against the Khmer race after being hit on the head in front of the Royal Palace was charged with incitement to discriminate by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Wednesday.

Yin Heng was driving his motorbike on Monday when one of three men following him on another motorbike punched him several times on the top of the head.

Immediately afterwards, Heng posted a video of himself, with the palace in the background and a bump on his head, denigrating all Khmer people in an inflammatory rant that subsequently went viral.

He was charged under Articles 494 and 496 of the Criminal Code and the investigating judge sent him to Prey Sar prison for pre-trial detention, said deputy persecutor Ly Sophana.

Ministry of Interior anti-cybercrime department director Chea Pov told The Post that the arrest was made on the order of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sar Kheng and Phnom Penh municipal police chief Sar Thet.

Pov said that after receiving the order from higher authorities, his police team collaborated with other units to launch an investigation, eventually leading to his arrest.

Although Heng is gay, it is unknown whether his assault was homophobically motivated. His Facebook post made him an internet sensation, and he was given the nickname, “Champei Khmao” or “Black Frangipani”.

Heng said in his video: “I was riding my motorbike by myself. However, three people riding a motorbike behind me hit me hard on my head.

“I don’t understand. Did I do something wrong? I tried to remain calm. My head was hurt. Now there is a huge bump on my head. They were truly Khmer people – Khmer blood. Khmers are like animals. Khmers are bad."

“Why did you do this to me. What have I ever done to you? You will be destroyed – not by other people, but by yourselves. It’s fitting that the Khmer Empire lost its territory. You will be burned and destroyed. If Khmers lose even more territory, it is even better.”

On Tuesday, Heng posted another video to apologise to all Cambodian people. “After further thinking, I know that I was wrong to use degrading language about Cambodia and Cambodian people.

“I just wanted to express my overwhelming feelings, because I was very angry at the time because three people, riding on a motorbike, hit me on my head. Right now, my head has a huge bump on it."

“It was not a good feeling. You have never felt what it’s like being bashed on the head. I was overwhelmed. I was so upset. My body was shaking."

“My head is not a dog’s head. You can beat me anytime you want. You can blame or sue me, but you need to find and punish the people who hit my head,” he said.

Facebook users who shared the videos said insulting the Khmer race is equivalent to insulting Cambodian people and the country in general.

Article 496 of the Criminal Code describes incitement to discriminate as “The direct incitement . . . to discriminate, to be malicious or violent against a person or a group of persons because of their membership or non-membership of a particular ethnicity, nationality, race or religion”.

The offence is punishable by imprisonment from one to three years and a fine of two to six million riel.

MOST VIEWED

  • Call for boycott of Angkor unacceptable

    Dear Editor, I wish to express my strong disagreement on the article published by Traveller for their website with the title Best places to go in 2020: 12 destinations you should avoid. Below is my opinion of the article. It is obviously free for the Traveller to

  • Ministry issues warning over coronavirus outbreak

    The Ministry of Health on Wednesday asked the public to be on “high alert” as a new virus wreaks havoc across Asia. However, no cases have been reported in the Kingdom thus far. The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) has raised the alarm for its similarity to

  • Probe underway after wreckage of drone with Chinese characters found

    Air Force Command spokesman Prak Sokha said on Sunday that investigations are underway regarding the wreckage of a drone that was recovered in Koh Kong province’s Koh Sdech commune in Kiri Sakor district. The wreckage has been taken to the capital for further examination,

  • Gov’t slams UN rapporteurs over Sokha trial statement

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and the Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of Cambodia to the UN Office in Geneva deplored the statement of three UN special rapporteurs who claimed that Kem Sokha’s trial was “tainted” due to irregularities. The reaction

  • No power shortages next dry season, says energy minister

    Minister of Mines and Energy Suy Sem has assured the public that Cambodia will not suffer power shortages during the next dry season. Speaking on local TV on Tuesday, Sem projected a rise in power demand during 2020’s dry season – which starts in November and

  • Gov’t takes steps to lower logistics, transport costs

    With the threat of losing trade privileges in the EU drawing closer, the government is taking measures to reduce logistics and transportation costs to safeguard the Kingdom’s competitiveness. The EU is due to decide whether or not to withdraw the Kingdom’s trade privileges