A cockfighting operation being run by the family of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s brother, Hun San, in Kandal province has been ordered to shut down after reports that illegal bets were being placed on the fights, provincial governor Mao Phirun said on Sunday.
“I asked the Lvea Em district governor to shut down the cockfighting place because illegal gambling is not allowed to occur,” Mr. Phirun said, adding that he had also instructed Mr. San to close down the ring.
“I have told him already by telephone that he has no right to open the illegal gambling [operation], and he agreed with me that he will remove the cockfighting house,” the governor said.
However, reached earlier in the day, Mr. San said that Mr. Phirun in fact said authorities would provide protection for the gambling operation, which is illegal under Cambodian law.
“I telephoned the provincial governor this morning, but he told me that he will tell his local authorities to provide security for the gambling,” Mr. San said, explaining his family only opened it for leisure.
“My son-in-law started the cockfighting behind my house, and he just does it every Saturday and Sunday,” the premier’s brother said. “I wish to tell you that my family does not play cockfighting for business, my family builds canals for the people.”
Mr. San’s son-in-law, Thay Mab, said the operation had only been set up on Friday and that he was surprised by the prompt reaction from authorities.
“My father started the cockfighting for fun when he gets out of work every Saturday and Sunday,” he said. “My father wanted to come and play cockfighting because he is bored when he stays in Phnom Penh.”
“We did not ask permission from local authorities because we were just playing for fun, not for business,” he added. “But we will ask for permission if we are required to.”