Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Man still held despite not making Facebook threat

Man still held despite not making Facebook threat

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Pich Roth Tha was arrested and questioned by authorities earlier this month for allegedly threatening to shoot Prime Minister Hun Sen in a Facebook post. Photo supplied

Man still held despite not making Facebook threat

Despite not being considered a criminal suspect, the owner of a Facebook page allegedly used to make threats against Prime Minister Hun Sen remains in custody for questioning, in apparent violation of Cambodian law.

Last Wednesday, Preah Sihanouk province casino driver Pich Roth Tha’s Facebook account featured a selfie next to a picture of a handgun along with an explicit threat for the Prime Minister: “Hun Sen, you kill too many Khmer [people], it will not be long before you will be dead by my hand.” A second post announced Roth Tha’s intention to shoot Hun Sen in the head.

The following morning, Roth Tha turned himself in to provincial police, claiming that an unknown person hacked his Facebook account to post the threatening comments. Provincial police transferred him to the Ministry of Interior’s Anti-Terrorism Department for questioning later that day.

Death threats against high-ranking officials have drawn prosecutions in the past, but officials yesterday said that Roth Tha was no longer being considered as a suspect, but was nonetheless being held.

“We are still investigating it and there is no information [that we released him],” said chief of the Ministry of Interior’s Anti-Terrorism Department Y Sokhy on Tuesday evening, denying the veracity of local media reports early this week that announced Roth Tha had been freed.

“Now we see he did not post any bad words on his account, someone else [who was] using his account posted on his behalf,” said National Police spokesman Kirth Chantharith yesterday. “He is still at the Ministry of Interior [and] we will allow him to return home when we find the offender.”

Chantharith said the real offender would be sent to court, and hung up before clarifying precisely what charges the culprit would face.

According to legal expert Sok Sam Ouen, under Cambodian law, police can only detain a suspect without charge for 48 hours for a misdemeanor, or 72 hours for a felony. Roth Tha has been in custody for a week.

“If the ministry said his account was hacked, it’s clear he didn’t commit that crime. He is innocent in that regard and should be allowed to return home,” said Cambodian Center for Human Rights Advocacy Director Piseth Duch. “[Roth Tha] can still cooperate with the authorities when he is free.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Second Hungary business forum set for H2

    Cambodia has asked Hungary to provide GSP- (Generalised System of Preferences) Plus facilities for when the Kingdom sheds its least-developed country (LDC) label, as the two countries prepare to hold a second business forum in the second half (H2) of this year to expand trade

  • Thai boxers to join SEA Games’ Kun Khmer event

    The Cambodian SEA Games Organising Committee (CAMSOC) – together with the Kun Khmer International Federation (KKIF) and Khmer Boxing Federation – have achieved a “great success” by including Kun Khmer in the upcoming biennial multi-sports event on its home soil for the first time, said a senior

  • Bullets to bracelets: Siem Reap man makes waste from war wearable

    Jewellery is often made from valuable gemstones like emeralds or diamonds and precious metals like gold or silver, or valueless things like animal horns. But a man in Siem Reap has approached the manufacture of delicate pieces from a different angle. His unique form of

  • Nearly 50 states join Kun Khmer Federation, all set for training

    In a little over a week, the Kun Khmer International Federation (KKIF) has accepted membership requests from 20 new nations, in addition to the exiting 29. The sudden influx of international recognition stems from the Kingdom’s successful introduction of Kun Khmer to the 32nd Souheast Asian (

  • 61% of 2022 imports came from just 3 markets

    The three largest exporters to Cambodia – mainland China, Vietnam and Thailand – accounted for 60.94 per cent of the Kingdom’s total merchandise imports last year, at $18.245 billion, which was up 11.99 per cent over 2021, according to the General Department of Customs and Excise. Cambodia’s total imports

  • CPP sets out five primary strategic goals for 2023-28

    The Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) on January 29 concluded its two-day extraordinary congress, setting the party’s priority goals for 2023-2028. The ruling party’s congress was attended by more than 3,000 members from across the Kingdom, including the members of the permanent and central committees,