Police in Sihanoukville are seeking to arrest a Russian businessman who is wanted in his home country for possession of weapons and explosives as part of a criminal syndicate, according to Interpol.
Lim Sokha Raksmey, acting director of Cambodia’s Interpol office, said on Sunday that he was cooperating with Preah Sihanouk province police to arrest Russian national Oleg Tikhanov, 45, who was placed on Interpol’s Red Notice list of most-wanted persons in March last year.
“We are investigating him,” he said. “Interpol is assisting the provincial police.”
Mr. Sokha Raksmey added that Mr. Tikhanov was also wanted for crimes committed in Cambodia, but said he did not know the details of the offenses.
“This guy, he might be involved in a shooting or something in Sihanoukville,” he said.
According to Interpol’s website, Mr. Tikhanov is wanted by Russian authorities for the “illegal possession and storage of firearms, ammunition, explosives and explosive devices or its spare parts committed by organized criminal group.”
Preah Sihanouk provincial police chief Seang Kosal, however, said on Sunday that he had yet to receive a request from Interpol to arrest the Russian.
Men Odom, chief of the provincial immigration police, said his department also had not been contacted by Interpol, but that he knew of Mr. Tikhanov.
“I know he is living as an ordinary person in our area, but I didn’t know he was involved with any crimes,” he said.
On February 13, a fight broke out between two groups of men at Sihanoukville’s Queenco Hotel and Casino that left at least two men injured, one with a serious stab wound. Witnesses said at the time that the altercation began when one group of men demanded profits from Lotus Tours, which had been selling tickets for the Kazantip music festival on Koh Puos island, which was subsequently canceled by local authorities.
Nikita Marshunok, the festival’s organizer, said in an email last week that he had hired Mr. Tikhanov and his company Oceania to deliver two containers of equipment for the festival.
“Eventually they illegally arrogated those to themselves and are not going to give them back,” he said.
Mr. Marshunok added that he had heard that those responsible for the fight at the Queenco hotel were employees of Oceania.
“[I]t’s really strange that right after incident in Queenco police found an arsenal of weapons, knife and ammunition at the house of Oceania ‘marketing’ employees,” he said.
Mr. Marshunok also provided a copy of a complaint he filed with police after an earlier incident on Koh Puos.
In the complaint, he alleges that on January 24, Mr. Tikhanov and 14 armed men arrived on the island in three jeeps and demanded $45,000.
“They came and surrounded me, and in emotional and aggressive form tried to explain that they ‘control businesses questions’” in Sihanoukville, he says in the complaint, identifying one of the men with Mr. Tikhanov as Roman Dragomir, also a Russian national.
Mr. Dragomir was also identified by several witnesses as being the instigator of the Queenco fight last month.
In an email last week, Mr. Dragomir denied any involvement in the brawl.
“[D]uring the incident in the casino Queenco, I was in other place,” he said.
“The statement of Lotus-Tour company…that they were attacked by Oceania company’s [staff] is a fake, and this confirmed by external supervision cameras.”
(Additional reporting by George Wright and Ben Woods)
© 2015, Chris Mueller. All rights reserved.