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Sports clubs in Russey Keo raided

Over 40 arrested as more clubs come under scrutiny.

POLICE have raided local betting clubs in Russey Keo district in line with last month's gambling ban in the capital, arresting over 40 people, police said.

Two sports clubs in Svay Pak commune were the targets of the raid, which happened on Saturday night in cooperation with the provincial court prosecutor, police said.

Police arrested 41 patrons and two club owners, telling the Post that another club owner was "on the run".

"We are interrogating [the detained] to see whether there is enough evidence to press charges. We have divided them into two: the gamblers and the bettinghouse staff. The other club owner is on the run but we know that person's identity," Song Ly, head of the Phnom Penh's Minor Crimes Division, said Monday.

"We will free them if there is not enough evidence against them, but if there is evidence we will send them to the court for further investigations," he added.

Warning to the stubborn

Kaub Slesh, Russey Keo deputy district governor, confirmed the raids Monday, but said he was not involved.

"A gradual crackdown is still in place and provides a warning to those [gamblers and employees] who choose to be stubborn and ignore the ban implemented by the prime minister and City Hall," Song Ly said.

"It reminds others to be afraid and that club owners can face court if they don't comply," he added.

The government issued a directive last month terminating all valid gambling licences following a directive by Hun Sen the same day, ending gambling to "make social reform, strengthen public order and improve social morality".

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