Police confiscated 11 gambling tables and a cash register Monday night in a move to close what authorities said was an illegal casino in the Princess Hotel on Monivong Boulevard.
“The place was as big as the Holiday Hotel,” said Pok Kosal, deputy of chief of Don Penh district police. The Holiday International Club off Monivong is one of the few legal casinos in the city.
Customers and employees fled the casino in the Princess Hotel when police stormed it at about 11 pm Monday. No arrests were made.
Police identified the casino operator as Yang Yong Kun, a Korean national. He wasn’t in the casino at the time of the raid and couldn’t be reached for comment on Tuesday.
“We have the capacity to arrest the operator, but this is merely a preliminary warning on the person who ran the casino,” said Chea Sophara, Phnom Penh first deputy governor. Police said the casino had been operating for just a few days.
“We confiscated their materials to prevent them from illegally running the casino any more,” Chea Sophara added. “The reason I didn’t order the arrest of any people was because I was afraid my subordinates would steal property and then there would be a big problem.”
Princess Hotel officials said they had nothing to do with the casino and referred questions to the casino operator.
But Pok Kosal said any hotel owner who rents space to a tenant bears responsibility. “It is not reasonable to refer only to the person who opened the casino.”
Phnom Penh Municipality vowed last summer to shutter all unlicensed gambling houses in the city.
Meanwhile, a closing notice was posted Monday night at the entrance of a casino on the third floor of Hotel Inter-Continental on Mao Tse Tung Boulevard.
Teng Bunma’s Thai Boong Rong Co, which owns the space, couldn’t be reached for comment on the status of the gaming facilities. Inter-Continental Hotels, which manages the hotel, previously has said that it has nothing to do with the operation.