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Club drug bust sees 17 sent to court

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Police arrest some 400 people, including around 130 foreigners, at the Luxurious nightclub in Phnom Penh on Saturday. Photo supplied

Club drug bust sees 17 sent to court

Following the arrest of 408 people who tested positive for drugs at a raid on Phnom Penh’s Luxurious nightclub on Saturday, 17 suspects will be sent to Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Tuesday.

Most of the rest were sent to drug rehabilitation centres, while the foreigners are to be deported from the country. The club’s owner, meanwhile, remains at large.

Phnom Penh municipal police chief and deputy National Police chief Sar Thet told The Post on Monday that of the 408 people detained in the bust, 17 – five of whom are Vietnamese nationals – will be sent to court as police ascertained them to be involved in distributing or using drugs in the club.

“The 17 suspects will be sent to the municipal court on Tuesday. They were involved in the use or distribution of drugs in the club. As to when the owners of the club will be arrested, it’s just a matter of time. Sooner or later we will find them,” he said.

Thet said of the 408 people arrested, 93 were drug addicts – 62 Cambodians and 31 foreigners.

Among the foreigners, 14 were Vietnamese, 14 Chinese, two Malaysians and a Singaporean.

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During the crackdown, police seized 162.7g of illicit drugs and various drug-related equipment. “The people who were not drug addicts were educated and allowed to return home.

“We sent the Cambodian drug users to rehabilitation centres and we are asking the General Department of Immigration to deport the foreigners to their home countries,” Thet said.

Following the raid on Saturday night in Daun Penh district, the authorities temporarily closed the club and took the detainees to the Phnom Penh municipal police headquarters for further investigation.

Phnom Penh Municipal Hall spokesman Met Meas Pheakdey told The Post on Tuesday that police are still investigating and are searching for the owner of the club.

“We need to investigate the case first. We are aware the public would like to know who the club’s owner is, like with the raid on the Rock [Entertainment Centre], where the owner was an Oknha."

“We know people want to know who the authorities issued an operating licence to, but we are still working on the case,” he said.

‘They should not hide anything’

Soeung Sen Karuna, the spokesman for human rights group Adhoc, told The Post that he applauded the authorities’ crackdown on the nightclub, which he said was a convenient place for people to use drugs and to commit other crimes.

He said he wanted to see the owner arrested and punished according to the law because often, the major drug dealers are not found or properly punished.

He called for the identities of the masterminds behind the drug trafficking and the club’s owner to be revealed, and the people responsible punished accordingly.

“It’s not hard to find club owners in Cambodia because they submitted documents. I think the authorities should not hide anything. They should take action properly according to their authority."

“I don’t know whether it is police procedure to hide information from the public while they are looking for a suspect,” he said.

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