Off-Duty Police Duo Arrested Over Altercation at Hostess Bar

Two off-duty police officers were arrested in Phnom Penh on Saturday after they threatened to shoot the manager of a hostess bar during a dispute that ended when the pair enlisted the help of two other uniformed men armed with an AK-47 assault rifle, authorities said.

The incident, which occurred at The Corner 136 Bar in Daun Penh district’s Phsar Kandal I commune at about 1 a.m., started with a dispute between the female manager and the off-duty officers, commune police chief Keo Sokha said.

A food vendor walks past The Corner 136 Bar in Phnom Penh on Sunday. (Hannah Hawkins/The Cambodia Daily)
A food vendor walks past The Corner 136 Bar in Phnom Penh on Sunday. (Hannah Hawkins/The Cambodia Daily)

Bar owner Thach Moniroth said one of the officers was a regular patron who often harassed staff, and that the officer grew angry when the manager, San Narin, asked him if he wanted another drink.

“He was mad and accused the manager of looking down on him for not having money to drink,” he said. “He said, ‘We are from the General Commissariat of the National Police.’”

The officers then left and quickly returned with two men dressed in police uniforms, who arrived on a Honda Nighthawk motorcycle with one of them carrying an AK-47, Mr. Moniroth said.

“They stopped in front of the bar and asked the staff to call the manager to come out and apologize,” he said, adding that one of the officers said he “would shoot her and shut down the bar” if she refused.

Mr. Moniroth said the officers later became enraged when his sister began to photograph them, but they were prevented from re-entering the bar by his security guards.

When the officers finally left, they warned, “We will come back. You watch out,” he said.

A statement posted to the National Police website said the two off-duty officers were arrested on Saturday and punished, though it did not say how. The officers were not identified.

Mr. Moniroth said he did not report the incident or file a complaint, but photos he shared online show the face of the man who initiated the argument, as well as the Nighthawk’s license plate.

Run Rothveasna, director of the Interior Ministry’s public order department, said the plate number did not belong to a police officer and could be fake.

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