The Supreme Court yesterday denied bail to former monk Horn Sophanny, who was charged with illegal weapon possession and incitement to commit crime after posting a photo of himself brandishing a toy rifle on Facebook.
The higher court upheld Battambang provincial court’s detention warrant, rejecting Mr Sophanny’s request for bail as investigations into his alleged offences continue.
The offences stem back to the night of April 9, when five armed men shot dead Venerable Sum Sitha, 44, the chief of Roleak Kandorl pagoda in Kratie province’s Chhlong district.
Five days later, Mr Sophanny posted a photograph of a machine gun on his Facebook page, saying: “If the killers dare to come to my pagoda, I will use this machine gun to kill them!”
He also posted a picture of himself sitting on the floor of Wat Damrey Sar pagoda, holding the machine gun as if ready to shoot.
That photo was widely distributed on social media and was said to have deeply offended Buddhists.
Police later arrested Mr Sophanny. A sword and machete were discovered in the monk’s room following his arrest and he was quickly defrocked.