Preah Sdech district police in Prey Veng province attempted to raid a casino suspected of operating without a licence on Wednesday but were met by intimidation and shooting threats.
Sok Chanrith, deputy district police chief, said he visited the casino in Banteay Chakrey commune with a few of his officers to check whether it had a proper licence for operation.
“I received an order from the district police chief to check whether the casino had a licence or any kind of authorisation for operation,” he said. “This casino used to have a licence under the name of Bopea. However, it went bankrupt and it was sold to some Chinese.
“For a while, the Chinese did not do anything to the land and it was later rented to the current owner, who has run it as a casino without any billboard installed outside,” he added. “So, we suspected the casino had no licence.”
On visiting the casino, Mr Chanrith said the owner was not there and workers and bodyguards did not cooperate.
Rather, they scolded him and his officers and threatened to shoot them, he said.
“We asked the supervisor there for the documents and he told us off for asking and forced us away,” he said. “He used rude words with us and even threatened to shoot our forces.”
It is not clear who owns the casino and representatives could not be reached for comment yesterday.
However, Mr Chanrith said it is linked to a high-ranking official from Kandal’s Arey Khsat commune.
Despite the claim made by Mr Chanrith about the shooting threat, his boss, district police chief Chey Seng Heang, denied the incident.
“It was just a verbal argument,” he said. “There was no threat of shots being fired. It’s not true.”
“Our forces went there to inquire about the licence because it used to have one, but right now we don’t know yet if it still does because they did not inform us,” he added.
Provincial police chief Sreng Chea said he plans to take over the inquiry.