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Kith Theang held in probe into Rock drugs ring bust

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Officers stand guard outside the Rock club on February 23 after a drugs raid by Phnom Penh police few hours earlier. Sreng Meng Srun

Kith Theang held in probe into Rock drugs ring bust

KITH Theang, the Rock Entertainment Centre owner and brother of prominent businessman Kith Meng, was arrested on Monday evening, National Police chief Neth Savoeun told The Post.

Earlier the same day, Prime Minister Hun Sen had ordered authorities to find the mastermind behind a large-scale drug ring recently uncovered operating within the venue.

Savoeun said on Monday evening that Phnom Penh municipal police arrested Theang in accordance with a court order.

“This afternoon Phnom Penh municipal police served the summons, which ordered that Oknha Kith Theang be brought in for questioning at Phnom Penh municipal police station. Court officials and police are currently questioning [him],” Savoeun said.

He said he could not provide any further comments as it could jeopardise the case.

On February 23, Phnom Penh police raided the Rock in Phnom Penh’s Chamkarmon district. During the bust, they arrested 311 people, including 14 Chinese nationals, and confiscated nearly 50kg of drugs.

Following the arrest, police sent 17 people aged between 19 and 21 to Phnom Penh Municipal Court to stand trial.

A further 281 were forced to sign a guarantee that they would abstain from any future association with drugs before they were released.

On February 27, Minister of Interior Sar Kheng said Meng, chairman of the Royal Group and president of the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce, was not linked to the drugs haul.

“I would like to take this opportunity to inform the public that the thorough investigation carried out by authorities has not found any evidence proving that Kith Meng, president of the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce, was involved,” he said.

On Monday morning, in a speech to more than 3,000 graduate students from the Royal University of Law and Economics (Rule) in Phnom Penh, the prime minister said the Rock will be shut down and that he had ordered authorities to search for the ringleader behind the large-scale drugs ring operating in the venue.

“The Ministry of Interior will continue to take legal action on the issue in addition to the court process that must be strict in order to prevent a return of the illegal activity present in the Rock Entertainment Centre. The crime must be prosecuted seriously and we must look deeply for its ringleader. Where are they?"

“This is not a small case, it is a serious one. So we must get to the bottom of this because this is a way to dig to the root of the drug dealers, as well as all the people involved in the case."

“Through this damn place [the Rock] a new drug case was discovered. We are thrilled about [stamping down on] the Rock. Why did this place become an area that destroys the happiness of the people? I appreciate that our police force cracked down on it. They should have clamped down on it earlier, but we have only just cracked down on it,” he said.

Mak Chito, deputy National Police chief and deputy secretary-general of the National Authority for Combating Drugs, said on Monday that police are working with relevant authorities to locate other individuals who were involved, with a particular focus on finding the mastermind behind the drugs ring operating within the Rock.

Chito said the National Authority for Combating Drugs had already sent the case to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, asking for permission to continue hunting for the remaining suspects in order to bring them to justice.

He said that currently, specialist police involved in the investigation has not found any new suspects involved in the case.

“We sent the case to court and asked for permission to investigate the people involved. We are working with the Phnom Penh Municipal Authority to try to arrest the group’s ringleader,” Chito said.

Ly Sophana, Phnom Penh Municipal Court’s spokesman, said via telegram that the court is investigating the 17 people sent for trial, but did not elaborate further.

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