The Phnom Penh Municipal Court has charged a man and a woman with “inciting social unrest” under articles 494 and 495 of the Criminal Code after they allegedly posted fake news about the Covid-19 vaccination on Facebook.

Municipal police spokesman San Sok Seiha told The Post on March 1 that the two Cambodians – Thun Chantha, 44, and Mey Sophorn, 43 – were arrested on February 26 and 27.

They were sent to court on February 28 and charged on the same day.

In his Facebook post on February 20, Chantha said: “If it [Covid-19] really occurred, there would be dead people. There is no need to wonder. Maybe they [government] cannot control the situation and don’t have enough money to pay civil servants’ salaries. I don’t know. That is why they [government] use all kinds of tricks to find support from abroad.”

In her Facebook post on February 26, Sophorn said: “Cambodia is a country where there is no respiratory infection [Covid-19] or deaths from this disease. Why is the one-party government in such a hurry to call on Cambodian people to use the Chinese vaccine, which has not yet been recognised by the World Health Organisation?

“As an ordinary Cambodian citizen, I see the reason as political and not to protect people from this contagious disease. They want to please China to protect power and support Hun Manet to replace his father [Prime Minister Hun Sen].

“Second, [they want] to divert the attention of the national and international communities from the current serious political crisis in Cambodia.”

Phnom Penh Municipal Court spokesman Kuch Kimlong could not be reached for comment.

The pair face between six months and two years in prison and a fine of up to four million riel ($1,000) if found guilty.