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Taiwanese streamer accused of spreading misinformation detained in Cambodia

02/15/2024 06:53 PM
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Streamers Chen Neng-chuan (in black, left) and Lu Tsu-hsien (in black, right) are handcuffed during a Cambodian police news conference on Thursday. Photo courtesy of a private contributor Feb. 15, 2024
Streamers Chen Neng-chuan (in black, left) and Lu Tsu-hsien (in black, right) are handcuffed during a Cambodian police news conference on Thursday. Photo courtesy of a private contributor Feb. 15, 2024

Taipei, Feb. 15 (CNA) A Taiwanese national was detained by Cambodian police Wednesday on suspicion of faking a kidnap and assault that purportedly took place during a livestream from a "scam park" in Sihanoukville, according to Taiwan's Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB).

Chen Neng-chuan (陳能釧), who goes by the handle "Goodnight Chicken" (晚安小雞), live-streamed a video on Monday night, in which he claimed he had broken into the "scam park."

He then appears to be pursued and beaten up by unseen assailants before he drops his phone and the livestream abruptly ends.

The streamer then appeared in another livestream on Tuesday afternoon, in which he claimed to have escaped from his kidnappers.

In the second livestream, he displayed injuries and recounted being robbed as well as tied up, beaten and tortured with a stun gun.

The second livestream alerted local authorities, prompting Preah Sihanouk Province Governor Kuoch Chamroeun to appeal on Facebook later that day for people with information on those involved in the livestream to contact local authorities.

Photo courtesy of a private contributor Feb. 15, 2024
Photo courtesy of a private contributor Feb. 15, 2024

On Wednesday, Cambodian police said that they had arrested Chen on suspicion of faking his kidnapping and assault, as well as fabricating videos and defaming the country.

In a photo released by a Cambodian newspaper later Wednesday, another Taiwanese streamer, Lu Tsu-hsien (魯祖顯), known by the handle "Anow" (阿鬧), was seen handcuffed alongside Chen.

Lu had voiced support for Chen when online commentators accused the latter of staging his kidnapping and assault.

In a press conference about the case held Thursday, Chamroeun and about 20 police officers displayed evidence collected from Chen's lodging place in Cambodia, including military uniforms, ghost masks, red ink suspected to pose as fake blood, and a torn t-shirt suspected to have been worn in the second livestream.

The police stated that Chen had been streaming misleading content since arriving in the country to deliberately create misunderstanding.

Photo courtesy of a private contributor Feb. 15, 2024
Photo courtesy of a private contributor Feb. 15, 2024

The CIB said that Chen may be charged with inciting discrimination, making false statements, or illegal interference in the exercise of public functions, based on similar cases in the past.

The CIB said it would respect the Cambodian judiciary's investigation, adding that it would also stay in contact with local police via Taiwan's liaison office in Vietnam.

Meanwhile, Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) spokesman Jeff Liu (劉永健) said Thursday that neither the ministry nor overseas offices have received a request for assistance from the individuals involved or their families.

Liu said MOFA would respect the Cambodian police and the country's judicial system, adding that overseas offices would ensure that Taiwanese nationals receive fair treatment under the law and provide assistance when necessary.

(By Chen Chia-lun, Huang Li-yun, Matt Yu and Wu Kuan-hsien)

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Update

Feb. 16: Taiwanese influencers get jail sentences in Cambodia for faking kidnap

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Photo courtesy of a private contributor Feb. 15, 2024
Photo courtesy of a private contributor Feb. 15, 2024
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