PM Suggests Official Could Face Arrest

Prime Minister Hun Sen on Thursday took a swipe at an un­named politician saying that the of­ficial in question could very well face arrest for gambling.

“Some gamblers, do not hope that you can get away,” Hun Sen said in a speech in Sihanoukville Thursday.

“We do not have to show documents…when you go to gamble, people film you.”

Hun Sen added that when the government has the time it “will crack down—we will arrest you. It is illegal, but now I let you gamble.”

The prime minister’s remarks come two days after a more general attack on gambling politicians.

That speech drew a sharp res­ponse from SRP Secretary-Gen­eral Eng Chhay Eang who said that gambling will continue until all Cambodian casinos are closed. Eng Chhay Eang has previously admitted to having a gambling problem.

On Thursday, Hun Sen added that the politician in question had gambled in the Olympic commune in Phnom Penh—where Eng Chhay Eang lives—and in Bat­tambang—the province from which he serves as a lawmaker.

Contacted by telephone, Eng Chhay Eang responded that the prime minister should make better use of his time than to criticize a lone, reformed gambler.

Hun Sen “gives me too much importance, rather than the country,” Eng Chhay Eang said.

“He does not value the country; I am only an individual,” he said. “I have done nothing wrong…. I announced that I used to gamble, I did not hide it.”

Despite the prime minister’s arrest threat for the unnamed gambler, Finance Ministry Secre­tary of State Chea Peng Chheang said that while there is a prakas from his ministry banning Cam­bodians from gambling in casinos, there is no law under which to prosecute them if they do so.

“We don’t have a casino law,” he said.

“The ministry’s prakas is only a ban aimed at advising people. There is no punishment; only a law can impose punishment,” he said.

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