Pheng Vannak questioned over Facebook post

Khy Sovuthy / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
Pheng Vannak arrives at court for an appearance in April. KT/Chor Sokunthea

Facebook personality Pheng Vannak was questioned yesterday at Phnom Penh Municipal Court on allegations of incitement and defamation over messages he posted on social media.

Mr Vannak was previously charged with incitement to commit a crime and defamation over a March 29 post allegedly ridiculing Facebook personality Khan Sovann.

Mr Sovann filed a complaint against Mr Vannak, and is demanding $1 million in compensation. Mr Vannak was questioned by deputy court prosecutor Vong Bunvisoth for about two hours.

Outside of the court, Mr Vannak said he will wait for the court’s decision.

“I won’t comment – it all depends on the court’s decision,” he said.

Mr Sovann filed the complaint on April 2. He was questioned by the the deputy prosecutor on May 23.

At the time, Mr Sovann said Mr Bunvisoth wanted to know if he wished to continue with the case.

“I clarified that I still want the complaint against Mr Vannak filed, and I did not change my mind,” Mr Sovann said. “I filed complaints regarding violence, intimidation, defamation, insults and blackmail.”

He noted that he wants compensation from Mr Vannak.

“I demand more than $1 million in compensation from Mr Vannak,” he said. “I asked the court to help me find justice.”

Last month, Mr Sovann said Mr Vannak ruined his business when Mr Vannak made the post on Facebook.

“Mr Vannak attacked me and ruined my business. He alleged that I was running a nude karaoke bar,” he said at the time. “Because of what he said, my business faced serious problems – I lost income and reputation.”

Reached by phone yesterday, Mr Sovann said he believes the court will find justice for him.

“I ask the court to take legal action against Mr Vannak,” Mr Sovann said. “I will respect the court’s decision.”

Mr Bunvisoth could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Mr Vannak is also facing other legal battles, particularly one with the government. On Monday, he was questioned by the court over a complaint filed by government lawyer Ky Tech.

In the complaint, Mr Tech said Mr Vannak compared a hit-and-run incident to the murder of political analyst Kem Ley.

The complaint said Mr Vannak reiterated that Prime Minister Hun Sen gave $50,000 to Fresh News CEO Lim Chea Vutha to give to the family of Mr Ley.

“The post illustrated a clear plan and wicked intention to make a comparison with the purpose to accuse and brand Mr Hun Sen as the man behind the murder of Kem Ley,” Mr Tech’s lawsuit said. “Apparently, a large number of Facebook users commented and shared Mr Vannak’s post and it created confusion that Mr Hun Sen was the one who killed Kem Ley.”

Mr Tech yesterday said he cannot provide additional information about the case.

“I cannot talk about what the investigating judge asked because this is a court case,” he said. “The complaint will stand.”

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