Police Searching for ‘Disinformation’ Suspects Over Fake Tape

Police are looking for the people responsible for creating and posting online an audio clip in which Prime Minister Hun Sen appeared to admit his party had lost last month’s national election, an official said Wednesday.

In a clip posted on Facebook, Mr. Hun Sen is heard saying, “The CPP has lost the election,” and calling for low-level officials to take note of that fact.

The ruling CPP on Tuesday called for whoever made the tape—an edited portion of a speech in May in which Mr. Hun Sen quoted opposition candidate Prince Sisowath Thomico at length—to be punished.

Lieutenant General Khieu Sopheak, spokesman for the Interior Ministry, said that although no official complaint had been filed, an investigation was underway.

“There is an investigation into this,” he said, declining to say how police would go about finding the makers of the recording, which appears to have been removed from the Internet.

“Only the expert investigators know [their methods],” he said.

Lt. Gen. Sopheak said the act fell under disinformation in the law.

“Cambodia doesn’t have a law about social media and Facebook,” he said.

Sok Sam Oeun, a lawyer and executive director of legal aid group the Cambodian Defenders Project, said a disinformation charge could be brought if someone’s reputation has been damaged by a false statement.

However, he said text accompanying the clip may be required in order to incriminate the producers of the tape, since its contents were a genuine recording.

“To copy [the audio] is OK, but if [the perpetrators] write on Facebook, that could be disinformation,” he said.

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