Preah Sihanouk provincial authorities raided a Chinese-owned karaoke parlour in Sihanoukville’s Commune 4 on Thursday and detained more than 100 patrons, most of whom were Chinese nationals.
Provincial hall spokesman Kheang Phearum told The Post the police also seized an unspecified amount of drugs while raiding the Obama KTV club at around 3am.
The operation, led by new provincial governor Kuoch Chamroeun, netted at least 150 patrons, who have since been sent to provincial police headquarters for questioning.
Phearum said the latest raid was based on a careful investigation and followed a clampdown on two other nightclubs in the city.
“We are strengthening security and [public] order in the province … We will crackdown on other places that allow illegal activities,” he said.
Provincial police chief Chuon Narin told said technical officers were questioning the patrons, most of whom were Chinese tourists, and testing their urine for drug substances. He said police were working to identify the drug ringleaders and other suspects.
“We have detained all suspects including security guards and parking attendants at the club while an investigation is ongoing. We are dealing with this step by step. First, we administer a urine test.
“Then, we separate them into groups [to ease the probe] – parking attendants, cleaners, generator operators, hostesses, supervisors and guests,” he said.
Narin declined to specify the exact amount of drugs confiscated, citing an ongoing investigation. He said most of the club’s patrons were caught consuming Ketamine, commonly referred to as Ice.
“We have to thoroughly examine the drugs. It is not much because when we raided the club, much of the contraband had already been consumed for hours. We are testing and packaging them,” he said, declining to identify the club owner.
Chieb Sotheary, the provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc, applauded the clampdown and urged the authorities to continue their efforts in keeping Cambodian youths drugs-free.
She pointed out that some nightclubs in both the capital and provinces are found to have allowed drug consumption and dealing on the premises.
“Authorities must not tolerate drug dealing and consumption in their crackdowns. They need to punish them severely in accordance with the law.
“They must also investigate to determine the identity of the business owners behind the illicit activities. Strip clubs must not be allowed either. And in case a drug ringleader has been arrested, there should be a public announcement,” she said.
A report issued by the Preah Sihanouk provincial police earlier this month said there are 41 Chinese-owned karaoke clubs in the province.
The same report also said more than 90 per cent of all businesses throughout the province – including hotels, casinos, restaurants and massage parlours – are Chinese-owned.