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Cockfighting ring busted

Cockfighting ring busted

091208_05
Spectators watch a cockfight on the riverside earlier this year. After a raid on Saturday, 38 people face charges related to the illegal activity.

THIRTY-eight people from Sen Sok district’s Khmuonh commune were accused of cockfighting and sent to Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Monday after military police arrested them in a raid Saturday, according to Kith Sophal, the district military police chief who led the operation.

“My patrolmen suspected and reported to me about this illegal cockfighting site. Two days after we first saw it, numerous people came to play on the 1-hectare plot of land, and three days after that, I led the operation with around 30 district military police officials with a court warrant allowing us to raid it,” he said.

More than 50 people were arrested during the raid, and police confiscated 17 cocks and 25 motorbikes.

Police later freed a number of detainees.

“I would like to clarify the reason why more than 10 people were released and weren’t sent to court, to refute any confusion or criticism that a bribe was the reason for releasing them,” Kith Sophal said.

“These 10 people were not involved as cockfighting players, but were, rather, from my network of people – some rented the plot of land to plant mushrooms, and some were there buying mushrooms,” said.

According to the police chief, gambling is the root of most crimes that are committed in the district.

“My men always patrol every day in every commune to crack down on all kinds of gambling to guarantee social security and order following Prime Minister Hun Sen’s determination that the crimes of robbery, bag-grabbing, stealing property, and killing and injuring others all emerge from an addiction to drugs and gambling,” he said.

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