Prominent television personality Soy Sopheap appeared yesterday at Phnom Penh Municipal Court for questioning over allegations that he tampered with letters addressed to a rice trading company.
A complaint was filed last month by Lim Bun Heng, director of Loran Import-Export Company, accusing Soy Sopheap of criminal infringement of correspondence, a charge that carries between one month and one year jail and fines of up to US$500.
The anchor was summoned for questioning by the court last Friday, though details of the alleged infringement remain vague, with both parties refusing to comment on specifics.
After leaving the court, Soy Sopheap said he didn’t open the letters, adding that he didn’t know how to use email.
“I have requested the court remove this case because I saw that his complaint does not have any real basis,” he said.
Lim Bun Heng refused to comment yesterday, saying only that the court should follow through with the case.
Deputy prosecutor Hin Bun Chea also declined to comment yesterday, but last week said the complaint was related to the creation of a Deum Ampil radio station in Battambang province. Soy Sopheap is director of Deum Ampil News and a presenter for Bayon TV.
Recent comments made by Soy Sopheap on the government-aligned station have also irked Son Soubert, the president of the Son Sann Foundation, who has threatened legal action against Bayon.
On February 4, Soy Sopheap allegedly made comments suggesting that Son Sann – Son Soubert’s father and a leading nationalist figure – sold land to Thailand during the 1980s.
Son Soubert said yesterday that he had sent a letter to Hun Mana, the general manager of Bayon and Prime Minister Hun Sen’s daughter, asking that Soy Sopheap’s comments be retracted on-air.
“I have written to the director of Bayon TV, but she has not yet responded,” he said. “If Bayon TV does not broadcast my letter, I will sue them. They have defamed my father.”
Executives at Bayon TV could not be reached yesterday.