Prime Minister Hun Manet has expressed his dismay at the suggestion that two men from Taiwan, who were recently sentenced to two years in jail for producing a fake kidnapping video in Preah Sihanouk province, should be released to care for their sick mother at home.

Speaking at the groundbreaking of a new bridge in Phnom Penh this morning, Manet said that following the men’s sentencing, he had received suggestions that they be released.

“The day before yesterday, some people sought to intervention on their behalf, and I blasted them on the phone. They said we should have pity on the two young men as they have a sick mother in Taiwan. I said if their mothers are sick, they should have received even more severe sentences, because they are ungrateful sons. 

“If their mothers are sick, they should have expressed their gratitude to them by taking care of them, rather than flying to another country to destroy its reputation and cause trouble,” he added.

Manet was referring to Lu Tsu-hsien and his accomplice, controversial social media creator Chen Neng-chuan, known as “Goodnight Chicken” online, who were sentenced on February 15. 

“If you destroy the image of Cambodia and deter tourists from visiting, it brings hardship for our people, who rely on visitors to earn an income,” he said.

He added that according to the pair’s plans, uncovered by Preah Sihanouk police officers, they also intended to shoot a video in Siem Reap province before continuing on to Laos, and all to get “likes” online.

“They are so selfish. What they have tried to do is give people the perception that Cambodia has widespread kidnapping crimes, and make new potential guests afraid to come,” he said.

"I want to warn any other individuals who think they can use a false image of the Kingdom to obtain online popularity. We will take serious action, just as we did in this case. They will serve two years in jail, and have been blacklisted from ever returning to Cambodia,” he added.

Exhibits confiscated from Lu Tsu-hsien and Chen Neng-chuan in Preah Sihanouk province last week. P Sihanouk provincial police