More than 90 per cent of illegal business owners have ceased their activities after police launched an eight-day nationwide crackdown.

Officers are continuing to suppress operations and have stepped up efforts to educate the public about the dangers of gambling.

Sok Phal, secretary of state of the Ministry of Interior and head of the national working group to crack down on illegal gambling, spoke at a September 30 meeting in Sihanoukville on the operations, telling Preah Sihanouk province governor Kuoch Chamroeun that the ministry will continue to clean up illegal gambling sites.

“We all know that we have busted hundreds of places, and now gambling has died out, with more than 90 per cent of illegal dens closed down. Despite this, there are still a few locations running their businesses, so we will cooperate with the authorities of Preah Sihanouk and other provinces to shut them down,” he said.

He pointed out that local authorities have shut down most such activities in villages, communes and districts.

The Preah Sihanouk Provincial Administration said that after receiving orders from the head of the government and Minister of Interior Sar Kheng, a ministry team, in cooperation with Preah Sihanouk provincial authorities, raided five illegal gambling sites in Sihanoukville and identified multiple foreign suspects.

A total of more than 1,000 foreigners of 10 nationalities were held on suspicion of human trafficking, prostitution, online gambling and breaching immigration laws.

“The working group will continue to inspect all locations suspected of unlicensed use and take strict legal action against business owners in any place crimes are discovered,” it added.

Men Eng, deputy governor of Svay Rieng Province, on October 1 led a team to inspect a place called Bak Sey Keila inside the New World Casino in Bavet City after receiving information that this casino hosted cockfighting games and online poker, and allowed Cambodians to gamble.

Eng said that following the inspection, it was found that the casino has a valid casino license valid until 2026 issued by the General Secretariat of the Cambodian Gambling Management Commission.

“The cockfighting activity was not played by Cambodians as reported. The manager of the bird sport venue confirmed that Cambodians were not allowed to play but that Cambodian staff were employed there.

Phnom Penh Deputy Governor Khliang Huot said that for the mission to succeed, all stakeholders must unite to crack down on illegal gambling and illegal pawnshops.

“Illegal pawnshops are a source of crime, gambling and affect the livelihoods of low-income people,” he said.

He said that non-participation or neglect by authorities would be considered conduct which disrespected the public.

He stressed that all pawnshops that accepted stolen goods and items with insufficient documentation in Toul Kork’s Khang Romsev and other locations in Phnom Penh must be eliminated.