Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Victim blames Russian gang

Victim blames Russian gang

People gather at a villa in Sihanoukville over the weekend before it was raided by police seeking men wanted for attacking the official tour operator for the kaZantip music festival
People gather at a villa in Sihanoukville over the weekend before it was raided by police seeking men wanted for attacking the official tour operator for the kaZantip music festival. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Victim blames Russian gang

The alleged target of a gang attack at Sihanoukville’s Queenco Casino and Hotel last Friday has pointed the finger at a “group of criminals” that he said have been extorting protection money from numerous members of the Russian community in the coastal province.

The accusations come as two Russian nationals, Aleksei Burlakov, 30, and Aleksandr Kiselev, 29, were charged as accomplices to aggravated intentional violence by the provincial court and placed in pre-trial detention yesterday evening in connection with the case.

Police are continuing to investigate and are seeking several other suspects.

Vladimir Palancica, the manager of Lotus Tours, which runs out of Queenco and is the official tour operator for the kaZantip music festival, said that on Friday a group of about 10 men, including Cambodians, had tried to strong-arm him into handing over both protection money and a cut of profits he was making from the festival.

When he refused, they attacked with guns and knives, he said.

“They said that they know where I live, where my wife lives, they know about my children, and then they said that even the president of kaZantip will pay them, so why am I not paying them?” he said.
He added that kaZantip organisers had been asked to pay the group $45,000 but refused.

Palancica claimed the “gang” were linked to a businessman called Oleg Tihanov, who owns the Garage Bar and Oceania Hotel in Sihanoukville.

If he had acquiesced to the demands, the group would still be operating with impunity, he continued, adding he feared for his family while most of the alleged members of the group were still at large.

The manager of Garage Bar, who identified himself only as Oleg but said he was not Oleg Tihanov, said that the incident had no connection with the bar, where Palancica said the attackers were often seen.

“It’s a problem between some guys and it happened outside Garage Bar. It’s none of our business.… Right now nobody gives some facts about the incident, all the facts are coming from one side,” he said.

He added that the Queenco incident was undoubtedly related to kaZantip.

“After this guy appeared in the city, everybody has a problem,” he said of the organiser.

Oleg Tihanov could not be reached on a number provided by the bar’s manager.

Artem Kharchenko, the “prime minister” of kaZantip, which starts Wednesday on Koh Puos island and lasts for 10 days, declined to comment.

Three tourists were injured during Friday’s attack. Mihai Bulgar, who suffered a stab wound, was released from hospital on Sunday, according to provincial police.

Burlakov and Kiselev were arrested Saturday in a raid on a villa, where police seized two cars, a motorbike and six airguns.

Separately yesterday, provincial authorities visited Koh Puos to inform the kaZantip organisers that they would have to suspend all “activities” related to the festival, including construction, until they receive full permission to go ahead, provincial governor Chhit Sokhun said.

Although both the Ministry of Culture and Ministry of Tourism have given a conditional green light, the “government” still has not agreed, he said.


  • Angkor lifetime pass, special Siem Reap travel offers planned

    The Ministry of Tourism plans to introduce a convenient, single lifetime pass for foreign travellers to visit Angkor Archaeological Park and potentially other areas. The move is designed to stimulate tourism to the culturally rich province of Siem Reap as the start of the “Visit

  • Pailin longan winery tries to break through to the big time

    Longan aren’t quite as glamorous as some fruits. They don’t have the star-power of mangos or generate the excitement of a pricey seasonal niche fruit like the pungent durian. Unlike bananas or oranges, which are known and loved everywhere, longan remains a decidedly

  • ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ meet commences, Taiwan issue possibly on table

    The 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) and related meetings hosted by Cambodia kicks off in Phnom Penh on August 3, with progress, challenges, and the way forward for the ASEAN Community-building on the table. Issues on Taiwan, sparked by the visit of US House Speaker

  • Recap of this year’s ASEAN FM meet and look ahead

    This year’s edition of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) hosted by Cambodia comes against the backdrop of heightened global tensions and increasing rivalry between major powers that have been compared to the animosity of the Cold War era. The following is The Post’

  • Debt restructuring over, time to tackle rising NPL ratio

    The Cambodian banking system has just completed a 26-month debt restructuring exercise where scores of loan accounts were revised, classified and provisioned as the rate of non-performing loans inched up, sparking a slight credit risk unease Implemented in April 2020, the Covid-19 debt restructuring measures came

  • Koh Slaket studio resort brings culture with style

    Davitra (Cambodia) Co Ltd’s multi-million-dollar 13ha Koh Slaket studio-cum-resort just east of the capital was inaugurated in the first phase on August 6, providing national and international tourists with a new travel option and job opportunities for locals. The man-made cultural and scenic lakefront getaway