Police ruffled feathers after they killed – and ate – 92 roosters that were seized earlier this month during a raid on an illegal cockfighting ring allegedly run by a relative of premier Hun Sen.
The birds were rounded up by police after they shuttered the two rural cockfighting dens on December 4 and arrested Hun Sen’s nephew-in-law Thai Phany. Phany, a Cambodian-Australian citizen, was charged with running an illegal gambling operation, though authorities have declined to look into documents found at one of the rings that appear to implicate dozens of officials in bribe taking.
A court order to slaughter all 92 birds on Wednesday set off a flurry of criticism as netizens cried foul over the animals being given a harsher sentence than the people involved.
Scores of people were initially detained in the police raid, but most have since been released after receiving light suspended sentences, according to local media.
“Warrant to kill chickens! Where are the chicken owners, aren’t they freed?” Hing Soksan wrote on Facebook.
“The court’s achievement by the end of 2017: death sentence for 92 fighting cocks,” another Facebook user quipped about a justice system often criticised for being toothless against graft.
Roeun Nara, Kandal province’s deputy police chief, confirmed that the birds were killed on Wednesday following a warrant from the provincial court.
“We gave the chickens to our forces to eat,” he said, brushing off the online criticism.
The court document said the slaughter was ordered “to prevent the offence from happening again and to speed up the investigation proceedings”.