Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday called on the public to stop talking about a sex scandal involving a monk and his former girlfriend on social media as it could impact the reputation of Buddhism as a whole.
Mr Hun Sen also said that two military officers would be facing administrative punishment for spreading the scandal on their Facebook pages.
Speaking during an inauguration ceremony of National Road 6 yesterday, Mr Hun Sen urged social media users to stop spreading the scandal because the monk was already defrocked and the woman’s reputation damaged.
Last week, Sril Vanna, former chief monk of Phnom Bak Loeu pagoda in Banteay Meanchey province, was defrocked after Ke Lita, 20, accused him of raping her at her home.
“I would like to appeal to people to stop spreading this scandal in order to protect the value of Buddhisim and Khmer women,” he said, noting that Buddhism’s image should not be tarnished by a few errant monks and that the reputation of Cambodian women should not be damaged by a few women.
Mr Vanna denied the rape and said the sex was consensual. He was questioned by police after his defrocking and later released. His ex-girlfriend has not filed a legal complaint in the wake of the scandal.
Additionally, Mr Hun Sen warned two military officers, Khan Chan Sophal and Pheng Vannak, over the matter. He said that the two could be sacked for spreading the scandal on social media.
“Those who created the problem included Pheng Vannak and Khang Chan Sophal. If they do not stop disseminating the scandal, then we will have to fire them from the army unit,” he said. “That’s not freedom of expression, they were violating the rights of other people.”
Both men apologised to the Prime Minister yesterday.
They said to the Prime Minister that they will stop spreading the scandal on social media. “I accept the advice of Samdech Techo Hun Sen and I will not continue to disseminate the case any more,” Mr Vannak said.
Mr Chan Sophal also promised to stop talking about the case on Facebook.
“I promise to stop talking about things that impact the value of our Buddhist religion from now on,” he said.