Nine people charged over cock-fighting ring

Buth Reaksmey Kongkea / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
The four accused journalists leave court yesterday. KT/Pann Rachana

Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday charged four local journalists and five other men with operating illegal gambling after they were arrested for running bets on a cock-fighting game in Meanchey district.

Sok Socheath, a clerk working at the court, identified the accused men as Mok Yen, 36, a reporter working with the New World Newspaper; Chuon Rachhou, 53, a reporter working with Vireak Senchey Newspaper; Kruong Ratha, 48, a reporter working with Rescuing Cambodian Patriots Newspaper; and Kim Samvith, 29, a reporter working with the Khmer Powers Newspaper.

The remaining five men include Kim Ngeth Sopuol, 62, an advisor at the Ministry of Interior; Tith Vichetr, 38, a staff at a private real estate company; Ho Phal, 45, also a staff at a private real estate company; Soeun Song, 48, a tuk-tuk taxi driver; and Long Pheara, 37, a mirror worker.

Mr Socheath said they were all charged with operating illegal gambling following their arrest on Sunday, noting that they are currently being questioned by the investigating judge.

Punishment for gambling range from imprisonment of one week up to five years, depending on the amount of money gambled and whether the accused had any previous gambling convictions.

Captain Bun Chantha, a penal police officer working with Meanchey district police, yesterday said that they were arrested at about 1pm on June 30 after officers, who received permission from the court prosecutor, raided an illegal cock fighting arena located in Russey village in Stung Meanchey II commune.

“They were cock-fighting gamblers,” Cap Chantha said. “They were arrested while they were betting on a cock-fighting game in an arena in Stung Meanchey II commune.”

“They were arrested after police surrounded them and raided the game site on Sunday,” he added.

Police seized a total of four fighting cocks, two metal spurs, 11 phones, four motorbikes, 870,000 riel (about $217.5) and other gambling related materials from them. Cap Chanta said all seized items are temporarily kept at the Meanchey district police as evidence to support further investigation.

He noted that police will continue to crack down on all kinds of illegal gambling operations as well as other crimes, including robbery, drug use and trafficking in the city for the safety of its residents.

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