Cambodian Facebook User Arrested For ‘Sexy Clothing’ Images Posted Online

Facebook user Thai Srey Neang is shown under police guard outside the Phnom Penh Municipal Court following her arrest for posting 'revealing' images online, Feb. 20, 2020.
Police Photo

Cambodian police on Thursday arrested a female Facebook user previously cautioned for posting “revealing” images online, saying she had breached an agreement yesterday in which she had apologized for her behavior and promised to stop, sources said.

Thai Srey Neang was taken to court in the capital Phnom Penh and charged under Articles 38 and 39 of Cambodia’s law against human trafficking and sexual exploitation, the Phnom Penh Municipal Police said on its own Facebook page on Thursday,

Thai Srey Neang, also called Vann Rachana, had previously been detained on Feb. 16 to be “educated” against posting images “affecting Cambodia’s customs, and especially its women,” and had apologized in a video posted online, the police statement said.

“After admitting to her mistakes, she was allowed to return home. But she didn’t learn her lesson, and posted a picture of herself wearing underpants,” the police statement said, adding that a deputy prosecutor then agreed to file charges, and police submitted a report to the Phnom Penh court.

Reached for comment on Thursday, Ministry of Justice spokesperson Chhin Malin said he was unaware of the case.

Men also pose

Speaking to RFA’s Khmer Service, Eng Chandy—advocacy and networking program manager for Gender and Development in Cambodia (GADC)—said that the case now filed against Thai Srey Neang reflects a double standard in the treatment of Cambodian women by the law.

“What about men selling products online?’ she asked. “And many popular singers also wear sexy clothing when they perform. Didn’t they create feelings of sexual arousal?  Did anyone file complaints against them? Did anyone say that they damaged Cambodian culture?”

“This law was written by men and interpreted by men and adopted by men, and men are enforcing the law,” she said.

“This is leading to sexual discrimination.”

'His orders are always correct'

During a speech to the Cambodian National Council for Women on Monday, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen ordered authorities to take immediate action against women who wear “revealing” clothing while selling products on Facebook, saying their actions were lowering Cambodian cultural values and causing sexual violence.

Thai Srey Neang’s arrest was a direct result of Hun Sen’s speech, Eng Chandy said.

“Regardless of anything else, his orders are always correct, and the authorities must enforce them,” she said.

Reported by RFA’s Khmer Service. Translated by Samean Yun. Written in English by Richard Finney.


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