Cambodian social media have been awash with the image of black-clad reporter Thapanee Ietsrichai, a news reporter of channel 3, appearing to put her right foot on a sheet of paper on the ground that carried King Sihanouk's picture. She was reporting in Phnom Penh on the preparations for the funeral of the ex-monarch, who died on Monday in Beijing.

Thapanee also expressed regret for the incident and would submit a written apology to the Cambodian Embassy in Bangkok.

Channel 3 would like to request for pardon from the Cambodian royal family and for forgiveness from the government and people of Cambodia.

Thapanee had no intention of being disrespectful to the Cambodian monarchy, adding that the reporter did not step on the picture of Sihanouk's face.

In the photo, Thapanee is facing away from the camera, and it appears that her right foot is touching the edge of the piece of paper with Sihanouk's portrait on it. Channel 3 said the king's picture was on the ground "sufficiently away from her" but the angle made it look closer than it actually was.

After learning about the Cambodian anger, she before a photo of Sihanouk at the palace in Phnom Penh to offer her apology. She also decided to return to Thailand yesterday morning to show her sincerity about this matter.

The Thai ambassador to Cambodia met with the Cambodian deputy foreign minister in Phnom Penh to discuss the matter. The Cambodian side appeared to show understanding, according to the ministry official. The Thai Embassy in Phnom Penh also sent a letter to Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong to explain the situation.

The Facebook account "I Love Cambodia" was among the social media sharing the photo of Thapanee stepping on the paper, which appeared to be her news script.

Strongly worded criticisms came from many Cambodian Facebook users although others asked for restraint at this time of national sorrow in Cambodia. Some Thai Facebook users offered apologies.