Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Cop vs cops in cockfight standoff

Cop vs cops in cockfight standoff

Police officials confiscate motorbikes during an illegal cockfighting crackdown in Kampong Speu province last week. Photo supplied
Police officials confiscate motorbikes during an illegal cockfighting crackdown in Kampong Speu province last week. Photo supplied

Cop vs cops in cockfight standoff

A police captain from the capital faces arrest today for his role in leading a standoff against Kampong Speu provincial police who attempted to raid a cockfight he was allegedly running only to be humiliated and ultimately forced to fire warning shots to make good their exit.

Kampong Speu provincial police chief Sam Samuon yesterday said the officer, captain Kheng Sokha of the Phnom Penh municipal police’s economic crime unit, had been transferred for “education” and would today be one of five people named in an arrest warrant as ringleaders of the illegal matches in Kong Pisei district’s Veal commune.

According to Samuon, Sokha, who can be heard berating local officials in a video of the incident posted on social media, confronted a raid by commune and district police officers on January 24 with “arrogance” and superior numbers.

Samuon said the 20-odd officers leading the operation were intimidated into the ring, where they were surrounded by about 50 spectators, at which point one officer, feeling threatened, fired into the air.

“They had started yelling threateningly at us, because his side had many people, between 50 and 60 people including gamblers,” Samuon said.

“There were five leaders who rounded up our police and made them sit down in the cockfighting arena. Kheng Sokha tried to order us around but we did not follow their orders. We shot two times into the sky and they backed off. [Sokha] then shouted at us that he could fire a full magazine and that his AK was in the trunk.”

To avoid further problems, Samuon said the officers decided not to make arrests but seized some items.

“There would be big problem if we continue to confront them,” he said.

However he vowed that the group “would not get away with it”, adding a local villager had told police the cockfighting ring had been operating for about a week.

In a video posted on social media, Sokha can be heard challenging local officers. He says: “Do you know who this place belongs to?” He then says the “leader” would “make a call” while urging the group to remember “we are colleagues”.

“Before you come down here, you should have asked me,” he says.

However, a local officer, in response, does not yield.

“Bong, I do not know and I do not care what your name is . . . I do not know how big you are, I’m just doing my work, complying with my role,” he says, dropping the name of his district chief, Khoem Sophanra, who could not be reached yesterday.

“When you arrive [at the district police station], we can talk.”

Spokesmen for the National Police were unreachable yesterday.

However an item published on the National Police website about the operation noted a “heated argument” between the person running the ring and police, who were forced to draw their firearms.

It said the man “claimed he was a Phnom Penh penal police officer” and “knew both small and big people including the district and provincial police chief”.

It added authorities had seized two vehicles, nine motorbikes and four fighting cocks.


  • Prince Norodom Ranariddh passes away at 77

    Prince Norodom Ranariddh, the second son of the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk and former First Prime Minister of Cambodia, has passed away in France at the age of 77. “Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh has passed away this morning in France just after 9am Paris-time,”

  • Cambodia purchases 4 million Molnupiravir tablets

    Cambodia has arranged for the purchase of four million US-made Molnupiravir pills – enough to treat 100,000 Covid-19 patients – even though the current rate of daily infections in Cambodia remains low. The medicine will be distributed to state hospitals, pharmacies and private clinics, according to the Samdech

  • Rise in planned flights lifts travel hopes

    Six airlines have applied to resume flights in December, while two others have put in for additional flights and routes, according to State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA) head Mao Havannall on November 29. These account for 43 new weekly domestic and international flights in December, up 16

  • Is Cambodia’s travel sector in for another cheerless holiday season?

    The travel and tourism sector was heaving back to life as borders started to reopen, promising a festive vibe for the holidays and New Year. But Omicron and other Covid-related issues are threatening to close the year on a bleak note ‘Seems [like] Covid-19 won’

  • No more Africa travel ban but new rules for arrivals

    The Ministry of Health has decided to lift the ban on travellers from or who have travelled through 10 African countries and instead issued a set of standard operating procedures to manage passenger arrivals at Cambodia’s international airports. The 10 African countries are Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho,

  • Cambodia planning new border checkpoint at Thma Da

    Cambodia is looking into the possibility of opening a new Thma Da Border Checkpoint with Thailand to boost trade and tourism. The Ministry of Public Works and Transport said on December 4 that Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol led a technical working group