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Club owner missing after blaze

Club owner missing after blaze

The owner of a Phnom Penh nightclub where five people were killed in a fire on Monday has yet to be found, the building’s landlord and police said yesterday.

Taing Eng said that his tenant, Phon Bunthoen, who leases the building and runs the club, was on the run. “He has escaped and hidden himself. He has not even contacted to me to ask about the fire yet,” Eng said.

The Key Club, which previously saw three people die in a November 2013 blaze, has been banned from reopening until adequate safety standards are met, following an inspection from a municipal court representative on Tuesday.

According to Meanchey district police chief Teng Sino, a delegation of court officials led by deputy prosecutor Kham Siphary shuttered the club after visiting the scene.

“The building has already been temporarily closed,” he said yesterday.

Two female members of staff and three teenage girls were killed in the fire, which engulfed the building after an apparent electrical fault. Two male staff members were also seriously injured.

The teenagers died after reportedly being trapped in the bathroom as flammable decor inside the club allowed flames to spread rapidly.

Som Ban, the father of 18-year-old victim Som Srey Sros, yesterday said he planned to seek $5,000 in compensation from Bunthoen.

Duong Srey Mom, the mother of 18-year-old victim Sao Mesa, meanwhile said that she did not plan to seek compensation or make a legal complaint, but would feel compelled to if Bunthoen did not come out of hiding.

“If he comes and says sorry to me personally, I will not seek compensation , because this accident happened to all of us,” she said.

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