After being ordered to shut down months ago, a cockfighting ring in Kandal province at the house of Hun San, brother of Prime Minister Hun Sen, has reopened for business, according to a gambler and local police.
Police say the gambling has been ongoing in Lvea Em district for months. A gambler says the ring is netting up to $30,000 a day, with 15 to 20 pairs of cocks set upon each other every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday in Mr. San’s yard.
Contacted on Monday, Mr. San said he was not involved with the cockfighting operation, but that his son-in-law had told him the ring reopened a week ago for entertainment purposes only.
“I do not know clearly if the cockfighting ring reopened, but my son told me the cockfighting ring has opened for people to play for entertainment,” he said.
“The house belongs to me, but I am not involved in the cockfighting,” he added, referring further questions to his son-in-law, Thay Mab, and hanging up on a reporter.
Reached on the telephone, Mr. Mab said: “I don’t want to talk with The Cambodia Daily by telephone because what you published in the past made trouble.”
“I want to meet you face to face,” he said, hanging up.
A gambler, who refused to be named for fear of being barred from further cockfights, said the ring attracted hundreds of gamblers at a time.
“I saw the provincial police chief there at the ring asking Mr. Hun San to shut down the ring, but he didn’t listen,” he added.
District police chief Heng Sophal said the ring had been open for about three months and that he had tried to shut it down a month ago, stationing officers outside to nab gamblers carrying cocks in bags. They arrested three and made them sign contracts promising to stop, but noted that previous contracts had made little difference.
Mr. Sophal said he would get help from provincial police to stop the fights.
Provincial police chief Iev Chamroeun, however, said the cockfighting wasn’t happening.
“The cockfighting ring is still closed,” he said. “When I sent my police to check, they didn’t see it,” he said, hanging up.