lvea em district, Kandal province – Despite having been ordered to shut down an illegal cockfighting ring earlier this month, Prime Minister Hun Sen’s brother Hun San appears to still be running cockfights out of his residential compound here.
Dozens of men on Monday morning slipped through a guarded gate leading to Mr. San’s house in Akrey Khsat commune, saying they were there to place bets on the illegal bloodsport, some of them holding wriggling roosters in cages and bags.
Reporters were able to enter the grounds of Mr. San’s house along with the gamblers, who began trickling through the blue gate at around 9:30 a.m., but security guards blocked them from approaching the cockfighting ring, where a large crowd of men were gathered, saying that they did not want to cause “problems” for Mr. San.
Contacted later by telephone, a gambler at the house said he regularly visited the ring to place bets, along with many other locals.
“The cockfighting happens five days a week except Tuesday and Friday, and each time people play for between $500 to $5,000,” said the man, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was afraid of being banned from the ring in the future.
He added that police were often stationed at the cockfighting ring to watch over it and that he had spotted a deputy provincial police chief there on Sunday providing protection for the operation.
Provincial governor Mao Phirun said on May 8 that he had ordered Mr. San to immediately shut down the cockfights.
Contacted on Monday, he insisted that authorities were actively working to close the ring and denied the accusation of any police collusion.
“I gave an order to the provincial police chief [Iev Chamroeun] on Friday to take action on this illegal gambling, and he is now working with the court prosecutor to shut the place down,” Mr. Phirun said.
“No, my deputy provincial police chief has not given protection for illegal gambling like the accusation suggests,” he added. “This is not true.”
The premier’s brother denied running an illegal cockfighting ring and warned journalists not to write stories about him.
“That cockfighting ring does not belong to me, and my family does not play cockfighting as a business,” Mr. San said. “Journalists should not do bad things, and they should know who I am before publishing.”
“I am not warning you, but I just want to tell you that in order to live a full life, you should do good things and should not make people hate you,” he added.
(Additional reporting by George Wright)