Minister of National Defence Tea Banh on Wednesday distanced himself from the “Gro Angel” Facebook account that used an image of him as its profile picture and posted content critical of the government.
A picture of Hing Bun Heang, the deputy commander-in-chief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) and commander of the Prime Minister’s Bodyguard Unit (BGU), was likewise used in a Facebook account – “Hang Hing” – that also carried critical content.
Ministry of Interior spokesman Chhum Socheat called for the owner of the “Gro Angel” page to be found and legal action taken against them.
Tea Banh took to his personal Facebook account on Wednesday to distance himself from the social media page.
“The public, please be informed that the Facebook account named Gro Angel is not mine. I do not have any connection with the content posted on this account. Therefore, the public, please be aware,” he said.
Socheat said on Wednesday that a Facebook user had the intention of misleading the public when using a photo of Banh, who is also deputy prime minister, as the profile picture of the Gro Angel account while posting content that is critical of the government.
“The public, please be informed that the Gro Angel Facebook account has nothing to do with Tea Banh,” Socheat said.
He warned the user of the Facebook page to stop using the minister’s picture and called on relevant authorities to find the account’s owner and take legal action against them.
National Police spokesman Chhay Kim Khoeun said on Wednesday that he had yet to receive a formal complaint but the authorities were working on the matter.
“I am aware of the issue, but I have yet to receive a complaint from the Ministry of National Defence. Although the minister has yet to file a complaint, our authorities are already working on the matter because it is connected with national security."
“As of now, I cannot conclude whether the suspect lives at home or abroad, pending his arrest by the authorities,” Kim Khoeun said.
The Post could not reach RCAF deputy commander Bun Heang on Wednesday for comment.
Local media outlet Fresh News said Bun Heang had condemned the owner of the “Hang Hing” account for using his picture for personal use and for posting content attacking the government.
The BGU headquarters warned the account owner to stop using Bun Heang’s photo and called on relevant authorities to search for him and take legal action.
Im Sothy, the executive director of the Youth Council of Cambodia said: “The enforcement of the law is good, but cases such as these must be publicised further because some people have created Facebook accounts without knowing that displaying or using other people as the profile picture is illegal."
“They may think it is unfair if authorities arrest them. But if we make it widely known, they will surely avoid doing such things.”