The Phnom Penh municipality shut down a string of nightclubs this week, including the Manhattan Club, the Royal Palace club and Chhuok Rath Thmei, which were allegedly operating illegally, city officials said on Friday. They said the nightclubs were also linked with drug smuggling.
Phnom Penh Governor Kep Chuktema said the city ordered the Manhattan Club closed on Wednesday, adding that it would be shut down temporarily due to a “legal problem with the owners.” He did not specify what that problem was.
But, he said: “I have hard evidence to prove that this club has been distributing drugs, including amphetamines. So we have to fight the drug trafficking, otherwise the security of the city is unstable.”
A municipal official said the Royal Palace club and Chhuok Rath Thmei were shut down on Monday.
National and municipal police officials said an undisclosed number of people were arrested for their involvement in drug dealing and illegal activities at the three nightclubs. They declined to give further details.
Victor Chao, managing director of the Manhattan Club, was not immediately available for comment.
In November 2001, the government ordered a nationwide ban on karaoke parlors and nightclubs. Immediately after the ban, however, some businesses transformed themselves into beer gardens or restaurants to avoid closure.