The Ministry of Interior has demanded that a social media user identified as Ny Nak issue a public apology for his social media post that accused the police of burning substitutes for the illegal drugs they had seized. The accusation, posted to Facebook late last year, alleged that they kept the real drugs and sold them.

National Police spokesman Chhay Kim Khoeun said on January 30 that Nak clearly had no understanding of how the process of burning seized drugs worked.

“A large police committee and several judicial representatives inspect the substances before they are burned. As a law enforcement official, I will take action against the individual who made these accusations. These kinds of allegations should be settled by the courts,” he added.

Meas Vyrith, secretary-general of the National Authority for Combating Drugs (NACD), said on January 30 that everyone has the right to freedom of expression, but they had best be prepared to back up such accusations with clear evidence.

“The drugs were set on fire in the presence of police committee members, as usual. Every year, we mark the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking – which falls on June 26 – with a bonfire,” he added.

He explained that every year, before setting the drugs on fire, the police hold a press conference to show the public what they will incinerate. In addition, tens of thousands of people are present at the bonfire.

He said he was disappointed by Nak’s statements, especially since he had not been present at the bonfire ceremony.

He said such allegations could negatively affect the reputation of the Kingdom’s law enforcement officers, and may have led some members of the public to doubt the officer’s good intentions.

“His speeches have besmirched the reputation of Cambodia’s good police officers. These men and women risk their lives to keep the public safe. Several have died in the line of duty, so [Nak’s] comments were deeply insensitive,” Vyrith added.

The National Police issued a December 22 statement saying that Nak had used his Facebook account ‘IMan-KH’ to slander them.

They said IMan-KH had alleged that the police had not burned seize drugs, but replaced them with substitutes. It even alleged that the police ran a large drug dealing operation, using the narcotics they seized.

The police dismissed the allegations and demanded an apology.

“We will employ all legal means to respond to any act that affects the prestige and the honour of National Police forces,” it said.

As of January 29, Nak had refused to issue an apology, despite the interior ministry’s instructions to do so. He released another video clip explaining why he would not.

Without presenting evidence to back up his claims, Nak said: “I heard about this from an inmate that I met while I was in prison, so they are not my words.”

Reached by The Post for comment on January 29, Nak said was merely sharing what he had heard from a fellow inmate, a convicted thief, during his recent detention.

In August 2020, Nak was sentenced to 18 months in prison by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court for charges of public incitement after he repeatedly mocked the Kingdom’s strict Covid-19 measures.