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Nearly 100 test positive for drugs in Phnom Penh nightclub raid

Taing Vida / Khmer Times Share:
Police crackdown on night club and arrest hundreds. Post News

Nearly 100 people who were arrested during Saturday’s crackdown at a nightclub in the capital have tested positive for drug use, police said yesterday.

General Meas Vyrith, National Authority for Combating Drugs secretary-general, said those who tested positive included Cambodians and foreign nationals.

“Police are now questioning them to distinguish between users and drug distributors,” he said. “We will take legal action against those who are involved with drugs.”

At about 2am on Saturday, municipal police raided the Luxurious nightclub in Daun Penh district and arrested 408 people, including 187 women. Police also seized drugs at the premises.

The Luxurious nightclub has been shuttered by police following a drug raid. KT/Pann Rachana

The suspects were transported in buses to the municipal police station and the club was temporarily shuttered.

Gen Vyrith noted that the raid was carried out after police gathered sufficient proof that the club was a drug den.

“Five months ago, our police received reports from parents of young patrons that drugs were being distributed at the club,” he said. “We then began our investigation and gathered enough evidence before we raided it.”

Lieutenant General Sar Thet, municipal police chief, yesterday said police have identified the club owner as a Vietnamese national and are seeking an arrest warrant from the court.

“We are now looking for the owner who has gone into hiding,” he said. “On Saturday, we also released about 100 patrons, mostly young people, who tested negative for drug use and who signed a contract promising to stay away from drugs.”

Lt Gen Thet noted that among the 408 people arrested, more than half were Chinese, Vietnamese, Singaporean or Malaysian nationals.

Club-goers await instructions from police during the raid on Saturday. National Police

Sous Chanthorn, who lives near the Luxurious nightclub, yesterday said that he sees hundreds of youngsters entering the premises during the weekends and they leave for home in a very drunk state.

“I see many young people visiting this club on Friday and Saturday nights and they appear to be rich and wear fancy clothes,” he said. “I have not been inside the club but I have heard that drugs are being distributed there.”

Mr Chanthorn called on the authorities to conduct frequent raids on all nightclubs in order to prevent drug abuse and also to enforce a ban on underage youths from entering clubs.

National Police chief General Neth Savoeun yesterday said that the amount of drugs confiscated at the Luxurious club was less than those seized during a crackdown at the Rock Entertainment Centre in February, when police confiscated more than 50 kilograms of drugs.

Police create a path for club-goers to follow onto a bus. National Police

In April, the municipal police launched an anti-drug raid at the Miami nightclub in Chamkar Mon district and arrested 50 people, including 12 women.

The crackdown at the Luxurious nightclub also came after the case of a soldier who shot and wounded his ex-girlfriend in a jealous rage inside the club last month. Vin Sokphanha, 27, has been charged over the incident.

During a cabinet meeting on Friday, Information Minister Khieu Kanharith quoted Prime Minister Hun Sen as saying that the government would not hesitate to punish and dismiss armed officials who illegally and anarchically open fire in public.

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