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Rock drug ring officer apprehended

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Police stand in front of the Rock Entertainment Centre on February 24. POST STAFF

Rock drug ring officer apprehended

The police officer hunted in the Rock Entertainment Centre drugs ring investigation – a senior official with the capital’s anti-drugs unit – has been caught, deputy chief of the National Police Mok Chito announced on Tuesday.

A further three suspects have also been arrested, said Chito, who is also the deputy secretary-general of the National Authority for Combating Drugs.

Chito identified the police officer as a section head with the Phnom Penh Municipal Police Anti-Drugs Intervention Unit.

He said the officer, who was in charge of security at the club, was the only police official currently suspected of involvement in the drugs ring.

Police raided the Rock nightclub on February 23, seizing some 50kg of drugs held on the premises.

The owner, prominent businessman Kith Theang, and 17 others have been charged by Penh Municipal Court and sent to the capital’s Police Judiciare prison.

“Those arrested so far are all suspected drug dealers of Cambodian nationals. The investigation remains ongoing. The large amount of drugs found – 50kg – means more than one person is implicated,” Chito said.

Satisfying civil society

Phnom Penh Municipal Court spokesman Y Rin said he did not know whether the suspects had yet been sent to court.

Phnom Penh Municipal Court deputy prosecutor Ly Sophana could not be reached for comment by The Post on Tuesday.

Soeung Sen Karuna, the spokesman for rights group Adhoc, said the arrests in the Rock case had satisfied civil society organisations and the public because authorities had also brought the rich and powerful before the law.

“In addition to the Rock case, the public and I look forward to seeing the authorities clamp down on other locations involved with drugs that ruin the future of young people in Cambodia,” he said.

Prime Minister Hun Sen and Minister of Interior Sar Kheng have both spoken in public this month on the need for authorities to clamp down on large-scale drugs rings, ordering investigations and the taking of firm legal actions.

Article 44 of the Law on the Control of Drugs states that “facilitating the illegal use of addictive substances, the act of renting out or providing a place or other acts that facilitate the use of illegal additive substances listed must be punished by one to five years in prison, with an additional fine of between two million and 10 million riel [$500-2,500]”.