A total of 163 illegal gaming machines of different kinds were burned by Preah Sihanouk provincial authorities on June 20. The machines were seized in 10 locations across Sihanoukville from January to June.
Provincial police chief Major General Chuon Narin told The Post that police had worked with the provincial court’s deputy prosecutor Penh Piseth to carry out the operation.
“The people who were involved with the use of these machines have been reprimanded and warned against repeating the offence. We will continue to implement measures against the use of these gaming machines,” he said.
According to Narin, the machines were destroyed in Boeung Prek Top in Village 1 of Sihanoukville’s Commune 3.
The exhibits include 45 “Fish Table Games” machines and 118 other gaming machines.
Sek Socheat, executive director of the Mindset Development Organisation, said the business owners or owners of the gaming venues were fully responsible for this issue.
He demanded that authorities open a full investigation and take legal action against the people behind the distribution of the gaming machines. If corruption or incompetence meant that no charges were laid, he believed that this problem would last for another 100 years.
Socheat said the best way to end this problem is for village chiefs and their deputies and assistants to monitor illegal businesses. With their participation, the authorities would be notified as early as possible and could take action promptly.
If local authorities were unable to do so, they should be replaced. If villagers report a case of illegal gaming and no action is taken, the authorities should be suspended and investigated, he added.
According to Socheat, officials like civil servants or members of the armed forces should be prepared to take action against illegal activity without exception. Anybody who was involved in such crimes must be held equally accountable under the law; otherwise society could not succeed in stamping out the problems.
“In addition, the mindset of the community, especially of teenagers and young people, must become one of avoiding such activities. The youth in particular, should be mobilised to help report illegalities to the authorities,” he said.
“They should be mindful of the community’s interests above all else,” he added.