DAUN Penh district authorities detained 48 masseuses suspected of prostitution during a raid Tuesday in Chaktomuk commune, continuing a crackdown by local police on venues believed to be havens for sex workers.
Sok Penhnuth, deputy district governor, said Wednesday that four Chinese “supervisors” were also detained during the raid on the Yang Chov Massage Parlour, located on Street 252, but that three were later released. The remaining detainee will be sent to court.
“A 24-year-old Chinese man will face court charged with procuring prostitution, and will be sent to Phnom Penh Municipal Court today,” he said.
He said 46 of the 48 massage workers – 37 Cambodian women and nine Vietnamese women – would be sent to social affairs on Wednesday “for further education and vocational training”.
The remaining two workers, both Chinese, would be sent to the municipal immigration office for “education”.
Police also confiscated boxes of condoms and a menu listing prices for various sex acts as evidence, he said.
The raid is part of a recent crackdown in Phnom Penh following a speech by Prime Minister Hun Sen earlier this month in which he lashed out at officials who he said had undermined attempts to stamp out prostitution and illicit gambling. In the same speech, he called for increased efforts to eliminate illegal gambling halls, brothels, nightclubs and karaoke parlours.
Sang Sophak Vichet, Tuol Kork deputy district governor, said Wednesday that authorities had raided 26 unlicenced massage parlours and 12 karaoke parlours in the last two weeks.
“District officials and police officials led an operation on Monday and Tuesday and raided 10 karaoke parlours in the Boeung Kak 2 commune, and stopped their exploitation temporarily,” he said, adding that the parlours would be given time to apply for legitimate licences.
A similar raid was carried out at the Pencil supermarket’s riverside shopping centre in Daun Penh on Sunday, when 11 Karaoke rooms were shut because the owner was not licenced.
Tang Sochet Krishna, director of the Phnom Penh Municipal Tourism Department, said the crackdown would only target unlicenced venues and those undertaking illegal activities.