Police arrested three Phnom Penh cafe owners Wednesday for allegedly showing pornographic movies to their customers, authorities said Thursday.
Hour Sivlang, 46, Long Ratana, 27, and Chan Thoy, 31, face charges under human trafficking laws, which forbid public broadcast of pornography, said Uk Savuth, the chief prosecutor at municipal court.
Twenty-four customers were also brought in for questioning during the mid-afternoon raid, Tuol Kok District Police Chief Kim Horn said. “We have educated them. [We told them] ‘Don’t spend your money on this business,’” he said.
The area where the raids took place, on Street 271 near Kossamak Hospital, is the home to many motorcycle-repair shops, and most of the cafes’ customers are off-duty moto-taxi drivers. Past efforts to crack down on the cafes have failed because local police tipped off the owners in advance of raids, Uk Savuth said.
Lim Meang Sreng, 22, a brother of Long Ratana, said his cafe also shows martial arts movies and melodramas, “but we get more customers when we show sex films.”
Police routinely come to the cafe to collect payoffs of 5,000 or 6,000 riel, Lim Meang Sreng said. Tuesday’s raid came as a complete surprise.
Lim Meang Sreng and locals complained that police did not shut down a fourth cafe because the owner is protected by a high-ranking police official in Kandal province.
The cafe owner, Ry Ravuth, 38, said he recently stopped showing sex movies after his business was raided three times. “I am afraid to play sex films…I am afraid I will lose my business.” he said.
“I also know that if I play sex films, it hurts traditional Khmer culture.”