Some 400 people, including around 130 foreigners, were arrested early on Saturday morning after failing drug tests following a raid on the Luxurious nightclub in the capital's Daun Penh district. Illicit substances were also found.
Phnom Penh Municipal Police chief Sar Thet said the owner of the club had been identified by authorities and would be detained.
Just after midnight on Saturday morning, Phnom Penh Municipal Police raided the Luxurious nightclub, located on Street 214 in Boeung Raing commune. They seized drugs and detained more than 400 club-goers.
Authorities temporarily closed the club, taking those arrested to the Phnom Penh Municipal Police headquarters. Half of those detained were women, while more than a third were foreigners, mostly Chinese and Vietnamese nationals, Thet said.
Thet, who is also deputy National Police chief, told The Post on Sunday that authorities were educating the club-goers as to their behaviour before releasing them.
He hailed his officers for the crackdown despite there not being a huge amount of drugs found.
“Law enforcement did well because many people have suffered from the use of drugs. The types of drugs seized are yet to be identified. They are being checked by specialists. The owner has been identified and we are looking for him, but we cannot say when he will be arrested,” Thet said.
This was the third largest drugs raid carried out on nightclubs in Phnom Penh during the first six months of the year.
In February, authorities raided the Rock Entertainment Centre, detaining more than 300 people and seizing almost 50kg of drugs. The raid saw Kith Theang, the club’s owner, arrested and sent to court on charges of involvement with almost 50kg of illegal drugs.
The following month, the authorities raided the Miami Night Club, holding 50 people and confiscating more than 10kg of illicit substances and equipment for the production and taking of drugs.
The nightclub's owner, Sreng Vireak, and six members of staff were sent to court on illegal drugs charges.
Meas Sovann, director of the Drug Addict Relief Association of Cambodia (Darac), told The Post on Sunday that such crackdowns would lead to a reduction in drug use.
He hailed the action and called for regular raids on clubs nationwide to target the drugs trade. He urged authorities to ensure ringleaders are punished.
“If we had sustained actions like this, then places allowing the use of drugs would decrease and people found using drugs could be sent to rehabilitation centres for treatment."
“Those caught in connection with dealing in drugs and the owners of places where they are consumed should be prosecuted by the courts without exception,” he said.