SEVEN men in Phnom Penh were released yesterday after being held for 48 hours following a raid on an illegal cockfighting ring in Dangkor district, police said.
Born Sam Ath, the district police chief, said a total of 16 cocks, including two dead ones, were confiscated at the site of the raid in Dangkor’s Kakab commune.
During their detention, he said, the seven men were made to cut grass around the police station and clean offices.
Though cockfighting constitutes a violation of the Law on the Suppression of Gambling, Born Sam Ath said the men were not fined or sent to court “because the operation was small-scale”.
“But if they do not respect their promise to stop the cockfights, we will send them to court,” he said.
More than a year ago, Prime Minister Hun Sen publicly denounced all forms of gambling, and drew attention to cockfighting in particular, calling on Deputy Prime Minister Sok An to close his cockfighting arena in Takeo province.
“I am announcing today the closure of all cockfighting arenas including the cockfighting arena of Sok An in the Bati district of Takeo. It must close – it is absolutely obvious,” Hun Sen said in a March 2009 speech.
Song Ly, chief of the Municipal Police Minor Crimes Bureau, said the premier’s remarks had pushed cockfighting underground. “Only a small number of people are still fighting cocks, and they’re doing it secretly,” he said.
Choup Sok Heng, Dangkor district deputy police chief, said police would remain vigilant in cracking down on such activity.
“We will not allow this game to happen in our district,” he said. “We will crack down on them, because gambling, drugs, gangs and robbery cause people in the villages and communes to feel unsafe.”