National Assembly First Vice President Heng Samrin issued a formal request Monday to all parliamentarians, asking them to instruct their assistants and bodyguards not to gamble outside the Assembly building.
Heng Samrin’s order came in the wake of a violent fistfight Thursday between the bodyguards of CPP lawmaker Ho Naun and Funcinpec lawmaker Khieu San following a card game.
Heng Samrin wrote in his letter that the dispute reached the point where guns were drawn.
“To maintain order and protect the reputation of the National Assembly…I would like you to instruct personal assistants and bodyguards to stop gambling immediately,” the senior lawmaker wrote.
For several years, groups of up to 50 bodyguards, many in uniforms and well armed, have regularly gathered to gamble in front of the parliament building or the park across the street while awaiting their high-ranking employers.
Khieu San, who serves on the Assembly’s human rights commission, said Tuesday that he had grounded his gambling bodyguard over the incident.
“I am not allowing him to do anything for nine days…let him pick up the dog’s [droppings],” he joked. “He will stay home and think things over.”
Ho Naun, chairwoman of the Assembly’s public health, social work, labor and women’s affairs commission, said she felt ashamed of her bodyguard’s role in the incident.
She said her bodyguard sustained a slight facial injury during the fight.
Opposition lawmaker Son Chhay called on the National Assembly to allocate some money to fund the education of lawmakers’ loitering chauffeurs and bodyguards.
“They just hang around waiting for their bosses so they kill time gambling,” he said. “We should set up a mobile library outside the Assembly building so drivers and bodyguards can access books for pleasure reading or something like that.”