Police Close Doors on Riverhouse Lounge

Police temporarily closed the Riverhouse Lounge in Daun Penh district Tuesday morning, as part of a municipal-ordered security crackdown following a robbery at a nearby hotel, officials said Tuesday.

Police delivered a letter from the municipality, ordering the nightclub to close because of noise complaints and shootings in the past, Daun Penh district governor Sok Sambath said.

He said the club had received repeated warnings about noise, but had done nothing to diminish the ruckus. “We are following the policy of Phnom Penh municipality and the Ministry of Tourism,” he said, adding that the crackdown was in response to recent security concerns in the area.

Before closing the Riverhouse, police delivered a second closure order to the Angkor Hotel, where five Japanese women were bound and robbed at gun point Aug 3, Sok Sambath said.

The hotel was closed to warn the owner to properly register guests and to allow officials to investigate the incident, he said Tuesday. Officials had ordered the hotel closed Aug 5, but it remained operating, officials said. Sok Sambath said he did not know when the establishments will reopen.

Phnom Penh Governor Kep Chuktema declined to comment on the crackdown Tuesday.

However, Riverhouse owner Stephen Nyirady said he had received no warnings and the closure notice took him by surprise.

“I believe it’s a misunderstanding,” he said. “We have not been able to get to the bottom of this.”

The letter he received from police Tuesday morning cited “shooting and shouting” as the reasons for the closure, but did not mention excessive noise, he said. He said he thought the municipality had received erroneous reports, as there has never been a shooting or other violence at the nightclub.

Mok Sopha, police chief in Phsar Kandal I commune, where both the hotel and the nightclub are located, confirmed that no shooting has ever occurred at the Riverhouse.

But he too cited noise complaints. “The sound of the music can be heard more than a block away,” he said.

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