Police Deny Existence of Illegal Casinos

Phnom Penh Governor Kep Chuktema ordered district police authorities last week to shut down eight illegal casinos, but police officials said Monday that they don’t know the locations of the illegal establishments.

Last week, Kep Chuktema announced plans to crack down on eight casinos located in Tuol Kok, Prampi Makara and Cham­kar Mon districts.

The governor said police officials must not take money from the casinos or be connected to them. The municipality planned to set a date in the near future for authorities to close the casinos.

“Any casino that operates without approval from the government is illegal,” Oum Sotha, director of the municipality’s commerce office, said last week. “Il­legal casinos must be closed.”

Oum Sotha also said more illegal businesses are popping up that take bets on football matches. The illegal businesses never pay taxes and cause crime to rise, he said. “I guess that the huge loser would commit crimes in the city,” he said. “I think it’s not a good idea to allow illegal gambling in Phnom Penh.”

But police officials in Prampi Makara and Tuol Kok said Monday that illegal casinos are not operating in their districts. The Chamkar Mon district police chief could not be contacted.

Though no casinos are operating in his district, Prampi Makara Police Chief Yim Symany said, “It is just almost happening and we must stop it.”

Tuol Kok Deputy Police Chief Mean Sarith said there are no illegal casinos or any significant gambling operations in his district.

“I’ve lived here for 10 years and I’ve never seen any illegal casinos,” he said Monday. “We only found that some gambling has been committed by moto dops who play cards on the street sometimes.”

Police in Tuol Kok are monitoring suspicious hotels and big houses that could be used to shelter illegal gambling operations.

“If there is a strange situation, such as one villa with closed doors and four to six cars around it every day, we will check it out,” Mean Sarith said.


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