Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Police involved in Rock drugs ring, says Sar Kheng

Police involved in Rock drugs ring, says Sar Kheng

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
The Rock Entertainment Centre on Monivong Boulevard in the capital’s Tonle Bassac commune on March 6. Heng Chivoan

Police involved in Rock drugs ring, says Sar Kheng

Minister of Interior Sar Kheng said on Tuesday that police officers were involved in the distribution of nearly 50kg of drugs at the capital’s Rock Entertainment Centre, which led to the arrest of its owner, prominent businessman Kith Theang, and its closure after a raid last month.

Sar Kheng vowed that the Ministry of Interior will not hesitate to arrest the police officers involved and called on the authorities to increase efforts to combat drugs and in no way be involved in them.

“Police officers were involved in the drugs crime at the Rock and we will now look to arrest them. We must be firm in doing so and must further continue such efforts,” he said.

Sar Kheng was speaking at the closing of a conference at the Phnom Penh Municipal Hall outlining its 2018 achievements and goals for this year.

“[The authorities] must introduce strict measures for the owners of places of entertainment, hotels and guesthouses to prevent the use of drugs and their trafficking and distribution."

“The leaders of security forces and civil servants must ensure you are clean and not involved with drugs. In the fight against illegal drugs, you must educate people and raise the awareness as to the consequences of their use to all citizens,” he said.

National Police spokesman Chhay Kim Khoeun told The Post on Wednesday that he could not yet confirm how many police officers were involved in the Rock club drugs case as arrests would be made step by step.

“The term ‘involved’ sometimes means facilitation and sometimes conspiracy. We must not allow the officers concerned to walk free because they were involved in a felony. If [we] have to shoot to kill them, [we] will shoot to kill them,” he said.

Sar Kheng said drugs were increasingly prevalent in Phnom Penh and spreading to the provinces, with more than half a tonne seized in Cambodia by authorities last year, while drug-related crimes were growing in the capital.

He urged the authorities to remember that combating drugs was a strategic duty for 2019-20 and the subsequent years.

“Previously only Phnom Penh was affected by the trafficking, distribution, and use of drugs, but now some rural areas are facing the problem."

“As we saw with the raid at the Rock Entertainment Centre and some clubs in Siem Reap that we have cracked down on, those using drugs were all youths. So it comes at a human cost."

“Drugs harm people’s health and seriously affect society because users can turn to crime. They also affect the [national] budget in the cost of rehabilitating users and other measures that have to be taken,” he said.

San Chey, the executive director of the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability, said police officers’ involvement with drugs is not surprising as law enforcement is still lax, leading to corruption.

“While people know that trafficking and distributing drugs is illegal, some still do it to make themselves rich quickly."

“Searching for the drug dealers and others involved in the Rock case, such as police officers, should not be difficult because more than 300 people were held in the raid."

“They must be able to say who distributed the drugs there, so I believe it is possible to arrest those involved if there is a real will by the Ministry of Interior, especially political will in cracking down on drug cases involving police officers,” he said.

Phnom Penh Municipal Court charged Theang with facilitating the illegal use of drugs and conspiracy. He is being detained in Phnom Penh’s Police Judiciare prison with 17 other people involved in the case.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hong Kong firm done buying Coke Cambodia

    Swire Coca-Cola Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hong Kong-listed Swire Pacific Ltd, on November 25 announced that it had completed the acquisition of The Coca-Cola Co’s bottling business in Cambodia, as part of its ambitions to expand into the Southeast Asian market. Swire Coca-Cola affirmed

  • Cambodia's Bokator now officially in World Heritage List

    UNESCO has officially inscribed Cambodia’s “Kun Lbokator”, commonly known as Bokator, on the World Heritage List, according to Minister of Culture and Fine Arts Phoeurng Sackona in her brief report to Prime Minister Hun Sen on the night of November 29. Her report, which was

  • NagaWorld union leader arrested at airport after Australia trip

    Chhim Sithar, head of the Labour Rights Supported Union of Khmer Employees at NagaWorld integrated casino resort, was arrested on November 26 at Phnom Penh International Airport and placed in pre-trial detention after returning from a 12-day trip to Australia. Phnom Penh Municipal Court Investigating Judge

  • Sub-Decree approves $30M for mine clearance

    The Cambodian government established the ‘Mine-Free Cambodia 2025 Foundation’, and released an initial budget of $30 million. Based on the progress of the foundation in 2023, 2024 and 2025, more funds will be added from the national budget and other sources. In a sub-decree signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen

  • Two senior GDP officials defect to CPP

    Two senior officials of the Grassroots Democratic Party (GDP) have asked to join the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), after apparently failing to forge a political alliance in the run-up to the 2023 general election. Yang Saing Koma, chairman of the GDP board, and Lek Sothear,

  • Cambodia's poverty cut in half from 2009 to 2019: World Bank report

    A report published by the World Bank on November 28 states that Cambodia’s national poverty rate fell by almost half between 2009 and 2019, but the Covid-19 pandemic recently reversed some of the poverty reduction progress. Cambodia’s poverty rate dropped from 33.8 to 17.8 per cent over the 10