Thy Sovantha Denies Posting Kem Sokha Threats on Facebook

Social media maven Thy Sovantha appeared to deny for the first time on Monday that she wrote the death threats against CNRP Vice President Kem Sokha that were posted on a Facebook page under her name, and said she would file a complaint seeking an investigation.

The threats appeared on Thy Sovantha II, a Facebook page the young activist allegedly started in response to a public campaign to unfollow her original page after she switched allegiances from the opposition CNRP to the ruling CPP.

cam photo sovantha channa
Thy Sovantha speaks at a news conference in May during which she announced a campaign demanding that deputy opposition leader Kem Sokha step down. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)

“Kem Sokha, please be careful,” one of its recent posts said, alongside photographs of several guns and Ms. Sovantha firing one of them.

Ms. Sovantha has been unreachable since the posts appeared.

A post to her original Facebook page on Monday morning flatly denied that she had made any threats.

“I, Thy Sovantha, the owner of the Thy Sovantha Facebook page, wish to reject any Facebook page that had any post of me attacking the Royal Government or any individual,” the post said, without actually naming Mr. Sokha or anyone else.

“I will report to Facebook to block the fake account and I will report to [Cambodian] authorities to take urgent action,” it added.

Ms. Sovantha could not be reached to confirm that she authored Monday’s post and she did not reply to a message requesting comment.

Contacted in the afternoon, National Police spokesman Saran Komsath said he was not aware of any complaint from Ms. Sovantha, but added that the police would make an assessment of any such complaint should one arrive.

“Anyone has the right to file a complaint,” he said. “If her complaint is legitimate, we will take action to investigate.”

The CNRP has said it would not file its own complaint over the threats—the party says it has more important things to do—and government officials have said they would not investigate the posts without one, even though authorities have probed online death threats against CPP-aligned officials without a complaint being filed in the recent past.

On Monday morning, before the day’s post on Ms. Sovantha’s original Facebook page, Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak remained cavalier about the potential danger.

Of a possible assassination attempt, he responded, with a laugh: “If it happens, the first people we will investigate are the people who posted it.”

Even if the threats were posted by Ms. Sovantha, he added, they were probably not meant seriously. “Like the Khmer say, a barking dog never bites,” he said. “And Thy Sovantha is a young girl; she would not be cruel.”

Even so, General Sopheak said authorities were keeping an eye out for any more threatening posts.

“We are not so stupid as to ignore an issue like this,” he said.

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