DAUN Penh district authorities raided four cafes and massage parlours in Srak Chork commune on Wednesday, detaining nine alleged prostitutes in a crackdown that received praise from local residents.
“We led the operation with district and military police and raided these four houses on suspicion of procuring prostitution, but their pimps remain at large,” Daun Penh district Governor Sok Sambath said Thursday.
He added that the houses were destroyed in the raid and the land would be redeveloped.
“On Thursday morning we completely destroyed these houses in order to develop them into nice houses,” he said.
The nine detained women are being held temporarily at Daun Penh police station, Sok Sambath said, adding that no decision had been made on whether to send them to court, release them or send them for “education”.
Keo Ratanak, a 40-year-old resident of a house in close proximity to the raids, said he welcomed the crackdown.
“I was very happy for police to take serious measures to crack down on these places, which have been stationed here for several years,” he said.
“They impact on Khmer traditions, and my daughters who pass this road every day from school.”
He said previous complaints from residents had been ignored, adding that he believed some officials were accepting bribes from pimps to look the other way.
Fellow resident Meas Nary, 45, agreed that the raid was necessary, but warned that there was still more work to be done. “There are still several places of prostitution that I strongly urge police to raid,” she said.
Srak Chork commune police Chief Touch Sarin said further investigation into other illegal brothels, massage parlours, karaoke clubs and gambling halls would continue.
Meanwhile, Cambodian National Police Chief Net Savoeun has ordered local, provincial and national authorities to deepen their crackdown on illegal clubs of all types to improve security and social order.
“Authorities must take measures to crack down on these illegal places without waiting for permission from top-level authorities,” he said in a speech Tuesday.
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Hun Sen publicly lambasted high-ranking officials who he said were obstructing efforts to stamp out prostitution and illicit gambling, calling for increased efforts to eradicate illegal gambling halls, brothels, nightclubs and karaoke parlours.