Siem Reap Provincial Court yesterday charged a man who allegedly draped the national flag over dogs and posted photos of them on his Facebook page on March 18, sparking outrage from other users.
Brigadier General Huoth Sothy, provincial Internal Security Police Department chief, identified the accused as Ong Sonan, 26, a male model living in Siem Reap city.
He said the accused was charged with incitement to commit felony and faces up to two years in prison and a fine of between about $250 and about $1,000, if convicted.
Brig Gen Sothy said Mr Sonan was arrested on Sunday by the department’s police in collaboration with police from the Interior Ministry’s Anti-Cyber Crime Department. He is now in prison pending trial.
Brig Gen Sothy said that on March 18, the accused produced, edited and posted photos of many dogs draped with the national flag. He also used the caption “dog” to describe the photos.
Brig Gen Sothy said that the photos drew the ire of many Facebook users who criticised them.
“He had posted photos of many dogs draped in the Cambodian national flag and captioned them as ‘dog’,” he said. “The photos seriously affected the honour and reputation of the Kingdom as well as all Cambodians.”
“It seems that he has looked down on his own nation as a dog,” Brig Gen Sothy added.
He said that after receiving many complaints from Facebook users, police conducted an investigation to identify and arrest the person who posted the photos.
Brig Gen Sothy said police tracked down Mr Sonan and after his arrest he was sent to the provincial Internal Security Police Department for questioning and further investigations.
He added that during his interrogation, the accused denied that he posted the photos and claimed that his Facebook account was hacked. Police did not believe him.
Brig Gen Sothy reminded Facebook users not to write anything or post photos which can affect the honour of the King, the nation, and the national Religion as well as the country’s leaders.