A top military police commander ordered the popular nightspot Martini Pub Restaurant to close by Monday, saying its clientele may pose a security threat to former Khmer Rouge military commander Ta Mok, who is being detained at a neighboring prison.
“We have to protect Ta Mok from any kind of threat because he is an important person for the trial,” Gen Sao Sokha said Thursday.
“Our idea is to close the bar for security reasons,” he said. “If I am careless and anything happens, I will have to take responsibility.”
The former Khmer Rouge commander has been imprisoned since 1999 and is currently detained at the military prosecutor’s headquarters in Chamkar Mon district, located next door to Martini. The nightclub and restaurant moved to its current location in June after the building it was renting near the Hotel Inter-Continental was sold.
Some military officials said Martini was more a nuisance to military police who wanted a good night’s sleep than a security threat to Ta Mok.
“Some residents complained about the noisy music from the pub, which operates until 3 o’clock” in the morning, said Kim Huon, president of the military prosecution department.
The bar does not pose a threat to prison security, he added.
Ta Mok, 76, is healthy and will be able to stand trial, Kim Huon added. “He eats as good as he does at home,” he said.
A Martini representative who declined to be named said the bar had legal claim to its current location.
“We have all the documents approved by the local authorities and the prison director,” he said.
Nonetheless, municipality and district officials said Thursday the bar’s fate was sealed. “It will close,” said Mann Chhoeun, Phnom Penh municipality’s Cabinet chief.
Lo Yu, Chamkar Mon district’s deputy governor, said that Martini has received the municipality’s order to shut down.
“If the bar operates its business longer than next Monday, we will take action,” he said.