Paper Editors Charged With Attempted Blackmail

The editors of three little-known Khmer-language newspapers were charged at Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Sunday for allegedly attempting to extort money from a karaoke video actress, officials said Sunday.

Sok Kolyan, deputy chief prosecutor at the court, identified the men as Kaing Samnang, 37, editor-in-chief of Sangket Kar newspaper; Chan Chhai Yuth, 36, editor-in-chief of the Samaki Cheat; and Kuch Kunthea, 41, editor-in-chief of Sangkum Cheat.

The three suspects were arrested Saturday afternoon following a complaint from actress Va Srey No, said Keo Thea, deputy mu­ni­cipal anti-human trafficking police chief.

The men allegedly tried to extort money from Va Srey No by claiming that they had a video depicting the actress having sex, and that they would publish stills from the video in their papers if she did not pay them, Keo Thea said.

“Those men tried many times to make an appointment with Va Srey No to extort money from her by showing her a photo of a similar woman from a sex film,” Keo Thea alleged. “But the wo­man in the sex film is not Va Srey No.”

Keo Thea did not say whether the men have denied the allegations against them.

The actress had notified police ahead of time to a planned meeting with the editors, so police were waiting about to arrest them when they arrived, Keo Thea said.

The men were returned to anti-trafficking police headquarters after their appearance in court, but will be transferred to Prey Sar prison today, Sok Kolyan said.

Information Minister Khieu Kanharith could not be reached for comment.

Independent Cambodian journalist Khieu Kola said that the three newspapers are not regularly published, and that they tend to only come out on major holidays or the birthdays of important people.

Va Srey No could not be reached for comment.

(Additional reporting by John Maloy)



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