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Two arrested over fake Facebook page for PM

Two men stand next to authorities yesterday afternoon during a press conference in Phnom Penh after they were arrested for forging government documents.
Two men stand next to authorities yesterday afternoon during a press conference in Phnom Penh after they were arrested for forging government documents. Pha Lina

Two arrested over fake Facebook page for PM

Counterterroism police have arrested two men for allegedly creating a fake Facebook account under Prime Minister Hun Sen’s name and forging documents purporting to show that one had been appointed as an adviser in the Council of Ministers, an official said yesterday.

Speaking at a press conference at National Police headquarters, Y Sok Khy, head of counterterrorism and transnational crimes at the Interior Ministry, said police did not know what the two men’s intentions had been but that they had stoked confusion.

“On November 8, Chhuon Sarun, using a Facebook account named ‘Samdech Hun Sen’, posted a message and fake documents to prove that he was an adviser to a secretary of state, and he used the signature of samdech as well,” Sok Khy told reporters.

“The suspect’s actions seriously affected the leader and caused deep confusion among the public.”

Sok Khy said Sarun, who works at a microfinance institution, had been arrested in Sen Sok district on Wednesday, while a suspected accomplice, phone repairman Suon Chanrattanak, was arrested yesterday, with police seizing computers, phones and some documents. He said that the suspects had been uncooperative but that counterterrorism police would continue to interrogate them to determine their aims.

Also at the press conference, prosecutor Sieng Sok said the men had caused confusion among the public by creating a Facebook account under the premier’s name and using it to post forged Council of Ministers documents.

“This action is regarded as a crime under the law, and is punishable based on articles 626 and 629 on faking public documents; the punishment will be [imprisonment] from five to 10 years,” he said.

Sok and Sok Khy presented as evidence printouts of posts made from the fake Hun Sen Facebook account, as well as the copy of the decree that purported to show Sarun’s appointment as adviser.

The decree said: “Chhuon Sarun, 38, is promoted to an official at the Council of Ministers and an adviser to a secretary of state at the Council of Ministers due to his gigantic and invaluable achievements, including contributions to the nation, and in particular the support he has got from ministers and the people.”

The posts made by Sarun appeared to show Hun Sen announcing the closure of a group called “Neak Reach”, which other accounts bearing Sarun’s name appeared to show was a group he ran. “I dissolve the Neak Reach group. If we know that someone is using our name, we will kill them.”

Another equally brief message appeared to threaten a war in Phnom Penh. Neither Sok nor Sok Khy explained the significance of the two posts.

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