Almost 50kg of unspecified drugs were seized and 300 people arrested in a raid early on Saturday morning at the Rock Entertainment Centre, with the venue shut down later that day as authorities investigate, the deputy chief of the National Police, Mok Chito, said on Sunday.
“Phnom Penh police, led and coordinated by Phnom Penh Municipal Court prosecutors, at 1:40am on Saturday morning raided the Rock Entertainment Centre on Monivong Boulevard in Chamkarmon district’s Tonle Bassac commune, arresting 311 suspects, of which 14 were Chinese nationals, and confiscating more than 39kg of drugs and 9.2kg of an addictive liquid substance, 12 scales and one pistol,” a Phnom Penh Municipal Hall statement released on Saturday said.
Phnom Penh Municipal Court prosecutors and the capital’s police have launched an investigation to find the ringleaders and all others involved, said Chito when speaking to The Post on Sunday. He is also the deputy secretary-general of the National Authority for Combating Drugs.
“We are investigating to find the ringleaders. We must find [those connected to the case] because drugs were involved, so there must be distributors,” he said.
The authorities, he said, were investigating to ascertain whether the owner of the building or the proprietor of the business were involved.
Chito said those suspected of dealing in the drugs would be sent to court, while the users would be sent to correctional treatment centres for rehabilitation.
Those not involved with drugs would be educated and made to sign a contract with a guarantor saying they would not use narcotics.
Phnom Penh Municipal Hall spokesman Met Meas Pheakdey told The Post on Sunday that it had ordered the Rock closed as the court carries out its investigation.
“We have ordered the Rock closed after the crackdown. It will not be allowed to reopen,” he said. The investigation, he said, came under the authority of the police and court.
“With immediate effect, the Phnom Penh Municipal Hall administration has ordered the Rock Entertainment Centre closed to allow authorities and the court to pursue their investigation into the source of the drugs so the perpetrators can be punished in accordance with the law,” the Municipal Hall statement said.
Sar Thet, chief of the Phnom Penh Municipal Police, said each of those detained was tested for drugs.
“Urine tests reveal most of them had used drugs. Police experts are busy with the investigation,” he said, adding that a press conference will be held when it is complete.
Ya, 18, said five of her friends were held in the raid, three of whom tested positive for drugs, while the other two did not.
“I was very surprised when they contacted me and told me they had been arrested. They were not involved with drug dealing, they just used them."
“I hope the police will release them soon because their mothers and relatives are worried about them so much,” she said.
Dany, 22, said her brother had been detained but police could not find evidence he used drugs.
“I was so shocked when I heard he had been arrested. He is a calm and gentle man. I hope the police release him soon because he is not involved with drugs.” She said.
Touch, 45, was tearful when he learnt about his son’s arrest. “Although my son used drugs, he never caused any problems for the family. We don’t have the money to send him to a treatment centre. We are parents, so we don’t want to see our son in such a situation,” he said.