Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - PM’s in-law charged over link to cockfighting rings



PM’s in-law charged over link to cockfighting rings

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A bulldozer destroys a cockfighting ring after a bust in Takeo province. Photo supplied

PM’s in-law charged over link to cockfighting rings

An in-law of Prime Minister Hun Sen was charged yesterday with operating two large cockfighting rings, seemingly following direct orders from Hun Sen himself, who appears to have invited officials to shoot his errant relative if he resisted arrest.

Kandal Provincial Court spokesman So Sarin said court Director Hok Vanthyna charged Thai Phany – the son-in-law of Hun Sen’s brother, Hun San – with operating a gambling facility yesterday. He faces up to five years in prison if convicted.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Hun Chanthol with Thai Phany,

Calling Phany the “mastermind” behind both cockfighting rings, Sarin said 60 other people who were rounded up in the Kandal raid were released yesterday after being sentenced to one-month terms that were immediately suspended.

Phany, who is also known by the nickname “Thai Mab”, turned himself in to authorities on Monday night after two cockfighting stadiums allegedly owned by him – one in Takeo province’s Bati district and one in Kandal province’s Lvea Em district – were busted by police.

Provincial officials previously denied rumours that the crackdown had been ordered by the premier or that the two raids were connected.

However, in an undated audio recording leaked on the messaging app WhatsApp yesterday, the prime minister appears to authorise police in Takeo and Kandal provinces to use deadly force when arresting Phany.

“You can contact Hun Manith to find [his hideout],” Hun Sen says in the recording. “You need to carry out the task. If he resists, you can shoot and kill him in order to end the case there.”

San Chey, the country director of the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability in East Asia and the Pacific, questioned whether authorities would have taken action at all without the premier’s blessing, and called the release of the 60 others “ridiculous”.

“I want an investigation into this, because it’s not only one person,” Chey said. “There are also others who are behind the operation and authorities who did not crack down. I don’t believe there would have been a crackdown without Prime Minister Hun Sen making an announcement.”

Phany, an official at the Ministry of Defence, had apparently operated the rings freely for months.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Officials escort suspects arrested during a bust of a cock-fighting ring yesterday in Kandal province. Fresh News

Authorities in Kandal had been ordering Phany to shut his cockfighting ring since last May, but he reopened it in March of this year, according to the Cambodia Daily.

In Takeo province, meanwhile, locals said the cockfighting arena was widely known to belong to “a relative of Hun San”, and said it had been in operation for several months, with luxury cars causing traffic jams on fight nights.

Kandal Governor Mao Phirun declined to go into details about the case yesterday. “We should not talk much about it as it leads to a long story.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Phnom Penh unveils rules for post-lockdown transition

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration issued a set of detailed guidelines for the seven days to May 12 after the capital emerges from lockdown at the onset of May 6. In the 14-page document signed by municipal governor Khuong Sreng released on the evening of May 5, the

  • SBI LY HOUR Bank Launches Cross Border Money Transfer Service between Cambodia and Vietnam on RippleNet, utilizing DLT

    SBI LY HOUR Bank Plc and Hanoi-based Tien Phong Commercial Joint Stock Bank (TPBank) on Friday launched the first Cambodia-Vietnam money transfer service in real currency via RippleNet, provided by SBI Ripple Asia Co Ltd to provide safe, fast and convenient services. SBI LY HOUR

  • Gov’t issues guidelines as lockdown nears end

    The government has issued a five-page set of instructions to be enforced when the three-week lockdown of Phnom Penh and adjacent Takmao town in Kandal province ends on May 6. According to an announcement signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen on May 4, the instructions cover a

  • Cambodia ready to exit LDC status

    Cambodia is well-prepared to minimise economic risks when it graduates from its Least Developed Countries status, according to a senior official at the Ministry of Commerce on May 7. Four LDCs – Cambodia, Laos, Bangladesh and Nepal – met at a virtual workshop last week to explore potential

  • Nine US franchises eye Cambodia debut

    Nine famous US franchising companies are looking for business opportunities and expansion into Cambodia to build a footstep for a strong foundation in Southeast Asia. The US embassy in Phnom Penh, in partnership with the US Foreign Commercial Service and with support from the American

  • Lost in translation: ‘Starvation’ in capital’s designated red zones

    “DACH bay” is a Khmer slang meaning a “loss of income”, that could also be literally translated to «deprived of rice”, which alludes to starvation. However, civil society organisation (CSO) officials have independently confirmed the government’s prior assertions that there are no cases of