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Bars warned against allowing striptease dances, loud music

Bars warned against allowing striptease dances, loud music

Distribution of Interior Ministry rules in Daun Penh district comes less than a week after authorities shut down a bar and arrested 15 people.

BAR owners in Daun Penh district were told by the Ministry of Interior over the weekend that they were required to close at midnight and to ban striptease dancing and the showing of pornographic films, several bar owners and the district governor said Sunday.

District and police officials on Saturday distributed a list of rules drafted by the ministry to bar owners and instructed them to sign contracts stating that they had read the rules and understood that they would have to close if they did not comply with them.

Daun Penh District Governor Sok Sambath said Sunday that the officials were simply reminding the bar owners of rules that were already in place.

"We just re-informed all bars to follow the contract - to close their bars after midnight, not to play loud music, not to show pornographic videos, not to allow drug use and not to allow strip dancing," Sok Sambath said.

Yim Nuch, a manager at the Velkommen Inn on Street 104, said she had been visited by the officials Saturday.

"They came to my bar and showed me the [Interior Ministry's] information, which mainly mentioned conditions about strip dancing, drug smuggling and pornographic films," she said.

"They asked us to sign five identical contracts, and I agreed to sign them."

She added that she had been told she could face criminal charges if she failed to follow the rules, though she said officials did not elaborate on what those might be.

Chhan Sro Em, 26, a manager at the UpDown Bar on Street 136, said Sunday that she had not received any information about the rules.

Our bar hasn't had any illegal activities such as sexy or strip dancing.

"Police just come around for drinking and then go," she said. "They never talk to us about that."
She said the UpDown Bar had been open for "over a year" and routinely closed at 1am or 2am without incident and without any objection from the police.

She added: "Our bar hasn't had any illegal activities such as sexy or strip dancing."

Citywide enforcement?
Sok Sambath said the rules applied to all bars in the capital and had been on the books for years, despite the fact that many regularly stay open past midnight. Ministry of Interior spokesman Khieu Sopheak could not be reached Sunday to confirm whether the rules would be implemented citywide.

Both Yim Nuch and Chhan Sro Em said they welcomed the rules.

"We will follow the ministry's order to close our bar after midnight if we are told by police to do that," Chhan Sro Em said. "We welcome these prohibitions, which are very good for encouraging our Cambodian girls to be gentle women, not too sexy."

The distribution of the letters in Daun Penh district came less than a week after police and local authorities arrested 15 people at the Blue Lagoon Bar, which is also located in the district on Street 108.

The officials made the arrests on suspicion that patrons were given the option of watching women strip naked.

Commune Chief Hov Shinith said last week that the bar had been closed temporarily and that municipal officials were debating whether to allow it to continue operating.

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