Hun Sen Forger Wanted to Appear to Be Gov’t Employee

One of two men charged with posting forged documents attributed to Prime Minister Hun Sen on a fake Facebook account told the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Tuesday that he wanted to impress his friends by

showing them he had a government job.

Chhuon Sarun, 39, and Suon Chan Ratanak, 24, were charged in November with forgery for using a Facebook account with the name “Samdech Hun Sen” to post forged public documents.

The posted document, dated November 15, 2014, introduced Mr. Sarun, who was a microfinance employee, as an adviser to a secretary of state in the prime minister’s Cabinet and was marked with a fake seal purporting to be Mr. Hun Sen’s.

At Tuesday’s trial, Mr. Sarun claimed he got the letter from a man he called only “Pheang,” whom he said Mr. Ratanak had introduced to him as a bodyguard for the prime minister.

“I did not know if the letter was true or fake and I did not know where he got it from,” Mr. Sarun said. “I wanted to show friends that I got a job in the government.”

Mr. Ratanak, a telephone repairman, denied any involvement with the fake letter as well as his previous testimony in which he said he got the letter from “Pheang.”

Mr. Sarun said he had changed his personal Facebook account to the name “Samdech Hun Sen” in order to post the documents. The false profile used a photograph of the prime minister as a profile picture and photos of King Norodom Sihamoni and Queen Mother Norodom Monineath as a cover photo.

The same Facebook account posted a status saying, “In order to have a job like the others, we will have to destroy Phnom Penh city.”

Mr. Sarun said he did not have bad intentions and just wanted to prove to his friends that he was a contracted government official.

In his final closing statement, however, deputy prosecutor Seang Sok maintained that the charges against the two men should be pursued.

Forging public documents carries a punishment of five to 10 years in prison, while using forged documents is punishable by two to five years in prison and a fine of up to 10 million riel, or about $2,500.

Presiding Judge Sor Linna will announce the verdict on August 25.

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