Cambodia (Sputnik) – Cambodian police are on the hunt for three men accused of inserting an image of the country’s king into a gay porn scene, though they have not said what specific law the three violated.
“The king represents the whole nation and they are insulting the king, which is like they are insulting the whole nation,” spokesman for the country’s Ministry of Interior General Khieu Sopheak said as he confirmed an investigation had been launched.
“We have got orders to arrest them,” he said. “If we don’t take action against them, more people might follow their act,” he explained, according to AFP.
The offending image of King Norodom Sihamoni, 63, was first shared on social media accounts December 25. It was captioned “Cambodian king is gay,” the BBC reports.
While in neighboring Thailand, even sharing such an image could lead to arrest, Cambodia is much more relaxed when it comes to discussing its monarchy. But it seems there are some lines that mustn’t be crossed.
Cambodia’s police plan to arrest the three suspects, one of whom they believe to be in Thailand, Sopheak said. Cambodia may ask Thailand for assistance in tracking down the rogue Photoshopper.
AFP observes that Sihamoni, who took the throne somewhat reluctantly in 2004 after the abdication of his father, fulfills the symbolic role of head of state but stays well away from domestic politics. Sihamoni, who speaks several langauges, spent much of his adult life overseas, where he worked in the arts, even establishing his own ballet company. The king is unmarried and has no children.
Legal expert Sok Sam Oeun told the Phnom Penh Post that while Article 502 of Cambodia’s criminal code provides for the punishment of those who insult civil servants and public elected officials, there is no such protection for the king.
“If there’s no punishment in the law, we cannot punish anybody,” he said. “Legally, we cannot extend the definition [to include] another crime. The law should be clear.”
Cambodia’s constitution describes the king as “inviolable.”
This report prepared by Sputnik.