The man at the center of an investigation into a death threat posted on the Internet against CNRP Vice President Kem Sokha said Thursday that he will provide authorities today with documents proclaiming his innocence.
The image and name of Pheng Vannak, who serves as the deputy chief of training at the Phnom Penh Municipal Police Commissariat, appears on a Facebook account from which an image of a pistol and seven bullets was posted on December 4 along with a message saying that each bullet was intended for a different part of Mr. Sokha’s body.
The Interior Ministry says it is investigating a complaint against the threat sent last Friday by the CNRP, and Mr. Vannak said that a superior had asked him Thursday to submit a report providing his side of the story.
“My superior advised me to make a report clarifying the case to him. In the report, I say that I am not involved in the death threat to Mr. Sokha,” he said.
Mr. Vannak said that while he has a Facebook account featuring the same user image that appears in a screenshot of the post, which went viral, he himself had not authored the post.
He said he believed that someone had either lifted his image and used it to create a duplicate account or had created a fake screenshot of the post to frame him.
Mr. Vannak added that after seeing the apparently fake post spreading on the Internet, he had talked with his lawyers about submitting a complaint to uncover the culprit, but was told no law exists under which he could do so.
“This has impacted my reputation because I am a law enforcement officer with the police and I know that to do this is illegal under the law,” Mr. Vannak said.
CNRP spokesman Yim Sovann, who lodged the complaint over the death threat, said that he would like to see an investigation to bring the author of the threat to justice.
“I understand that on Facebook there are a lot of fake accounts, but I appeal to the Ministry of Interior to put their resources toward finding this criminal,” Mr. Sovann said.