Anti-drugs police raided a club in Chamkarmon district’s Boeung Keng Kang I commune in Phnom Penh early on Thursday, arresting some 50 people and confiscating drug-producing equipment and suspected illegal substances.
Deputy National Police chief Mok Chito said on Thursday that police conducted the raid on Miami Night Club, located at Number 159 on Street 360, in the early hours of Thursday morning.
He said urine samples were taken from 50 people, with 26 men and 12 women testing positive for drugs.
“We are preparing to weigh all the drugs as we don’t know the quantities yet, and we are also questioning more suspects to build a case to be presented in court."
“It is important that we conduct an investigation into those who are behind the drugs. We don’t know at this point. Let’s wait and see what further investigation turns up,” Chito said.
He said that of the detainees, seven were suspected of dealing drugs in the club, and some were subjects of court arrest warrants.
Phnom Penh Municipal Police chief Sar Thet wrote on his Facebook page on Thursday that the bust was conducted at 1:30am with the permission of deputy Phnom Penh Municipal Court prosecutor Ly Sophanna.
It was done in collaboration with the Phnom Penh police minor crimes bureau, the Chamkarmon district police chief and Boeung Keng Kang police.
“In preparation to send the case to court, the suspects have been sent to the Phnom Penh Municipal Police Commissariat for questioning, along with the suspicious substances and drug-making equipment,” Thet said.
Chamkarmon district police chief Khin San said he had not been part of the operation because he was busy with a task in Preah Vihear province.
Boeung Keng Kang I commune police chief Kol Sophat said he was unaware of the outcome of the operation because he was standing on guard outside the club during the raid.
“I was part of the operation, but I was only guarding outside the club. Our specialist officials from the Police Commissariat were working inside the club. I don’t know how many people or how much drugs were involved,” he said.
Ly Sophanna couldn’t be reached for comment on Thursday.
Soeung Sen Karuna, the senior investigator for human rights group Adhoc, said he had supported the authorities’ efforts to crack down on drug distribution in the past as it had become more widespread in some entertainment venues.
“It is clear that it’s not just a few locations that are being cracked down on. The authorities had to continue their work. They can’t just raid one place and then stop. They are trying to tackle the drugs problem because there have been a lot of complaints about the issue,” he said.
On February 23, Phnom Penh police raided the capital’s Rock Entertainment Centre, seizing almost 50kg of illegal drugs.
Kith Theang, the club’s owner, was charged by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court last month and sent to the capital’s Police Judiciare prison.
Seventeen others were also charged and detained in the high-profile case, while more than 300 drug users were released shortly after the bust after providing written assurances they would not reoffend.