Birth Certificate Was Mistake: Commune Chief

A commune chief in Takeo has taken responsibility for producing a birth certificate that incorrectly lists the southern Cambodian province as being in Vietnam, but claimed he had made an honest mistake, officials said, adding that he would not face punishment.

The document, which lists the birthplace of a man named Suth Kong as “Kiri Vong district, Takeo province (Vietnam)” drew the ire of the Interior Ministry last week after it was shared widely on Facebook.

At the time, Mao Chandara, director of the ministry’s identification department, said the birth certificate had “poisoned the environment.” On Monday, Mr. Chandara’s deputy, Chan Kimseng, said that Tean Sarat, chief of Phnom Den commune, where the document originated, had admitted to issuing the birth certificate.

“He confessed that he made a technical error,” Mr. Kimseng said, adding that Mr. Sarat explained that the confusion came of the fact that Mr. Kong’s family moved to Takeo from Vietnam. He said the commune chief would not be punished, but that the Interior Ministry was still searching for the individual who posted the document to Facebook.

In a similar case in Svay Rieng province, a Bavet City councilor and a former councilor, both opposition-aligned, were sent to prison on Saturday to await trial on charges of forgery and incitement for creating and posting a doctored birth certificate that said Svay Rieng was in Vietnam, Investigating Judge Heng Phalla said on Monday.

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