A Cambodian Ministry of Religion official has called for the arrest of a young influencer after she was filmed dancing with a masked man wearing a Buddhist monk’s robe, as can be seen in this footage.
Phy Sakmai posted the video on TikTok, where she boasts 203,000 followers, where it reportedly went viral before she later took it down and issued an apology.
The footage shows her dancing with a man painted from head to toe in black and wearing what appears to be a Halloween mask and a monk’s robe, angering many Cambodians in the Buddhist-majority country.
Seng Somony, spokesman for the country’s Ministry of Religion and Cults, called on the police to arrest the influencer and her dance companion, named as Kol, for insulting Buddhism.
He added that the viral video shone a negative light on Buddhism and that the Ministry and its clergy were dismayed at the pair for debasing the religion.
Somony said: “The Ministry of Religion has no right to prosecute them, only the police can carry out legal action.”
However, he pointed out that Article 508 of the country’s penal code says that anyone caught wearing a Buddhist robe without the right to so can face a fine and between six days and three months in jail.
He then called on the authorities to take immediate legal action against the influencer and Kol.
One day after the dance clip went viral across Cambodia, Sakmai posted a video called ‘I apologise for recording an inappropriate TikTok video that harms Buddhism and inadvertently displeases Cambodians’ and asked for her and Kol to be forgiven.
It is unclear if the police are following up on the official’s request for prosecution.