Chea Sophara Makes Last Call for Popular Club

Phnom Penh officials have ordered the Manhattan Club, a popular Phnom Penh disco, to close its doors out of concerns for public safety, officials said.

Phnom Penh Governor Chea Sophara sent a letter Monday to the Daun Penh District Governor Suon Rindy ordering the club shuttered. The letter cited 10 violent incidents this year alone, one in which a Malaysian man was killed. Municipal police had threatened to close the club in September after the shooting.

“The club is closed down forever,” Chea Sophara said Tuesday.

If he succeeds in keeping the club closed, he will have the support of the community, but if it is allowed to reopen, the violence will continue, Chea Sophara said.

“I am very, very angry with [the club]. It is not suitable that it runs a business by destroying the Khmer reputation,” he said.

Local authorities have said they have been unable to access the club in order to investigate the various violent crimes that have occurred there. Most recently, the club was the scene of a shooting of its manager, William Tay, and two of his bodyguards.

Manhattan Club manager Vic­tor Chao said the club’s reputation is undeserved. “The club has be­come a victim of a bad situation,“ he said. “Unfortunately these events accumulated in the last few months, making them look so terrible.”

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