The publisher of the Khmer 7 January newspaper was place in pre-trial detention in Siem Reap province on charges of spreading false news about a well-known businessman and Oknha.
The 50-year-old publisher, Lim Hour, said in a Facebook post that Ly Yong Phat – a well-known businessman in Thailand and Cambodia – had died on April 20, 2021 from unknown causes.
The honorific Oknha was bestowed upon Yong Phat by Royal Decree on August 28, 1998.
Siem Reap provincial court spokesman Yin Sreang told The Post on April 25 that the man named Lim Hour had been charged under Article 425 of the Criminal Code.
“At this stage, a judge is questioning him. When the questioning is complete, a court hearing will he held. If he is found guilty, Lim Hour will be sentenced to a term of one year to two years in prison and fined from one to five million riel,” he said.
However, journalist Soeurn Set in Siem Reap said that some journalists had asked that the provincial court release Ly Hour on bail because he was only accused of spreading false news and was not guilty of robbery or a violent crime.
Sreang asked that the journalists retain legal representation and then the court will consider the case in five days time and make a reply.
Co-lawyers Nach Try and Touch Chhay, representing Yong Phat, filed a complaint on April 23 with the National Police’s Anti-Cyber Crime Department against Hour and his Facebook page operating under the name of News Fast for spreading false news, defamation and incitement.
They allege that the News Fast page not only falsely stated that Yong Phat had died, it also said that he had stolen land from people and that he was a dishonest trader.
“They clearly intended to defame our client in an attempt to incite public sentiment against him which could have affected his business deals with many national and international investors... Oknha Phat is a senator and a prominent investor. He is also a generous individual who has contributed to numerous charitable causes in Cambodia,” the complaint said, adding that at present he was in very good health.