Police Want Disco Closed After Fatal Fight

City police say they will ask the Interior Ministry to close a popular Phnom Penh disco following Saturday’s early morning brawl that left one patron dead.

Singaporean businessman Ong Kee Lian, 41, was fatally shot in the bathroom of the Manhattan Club at the Holiday International Hotel after he slashed Malaysian Low Chee Kim, 41, and the two men’s body­guards began fighting, Municipal Police Chief Soun Chenngly said Monday.

A military police security guard, Som Sophath, 35, was also hurt in the fight, which happened at around 3 am after Ong followed Low into the bathroom.

Police still don’t know who fired the shot that killed Ong, but say the fight was the result of an ongoing rivalry between the two.

“They had a dispute outside of Cambodia having to do with their business,” one investigating officer who didn’t want to be named said Monday.

Soun Chenngly said he wants the club shut down or at least forced to close by midnight. “This nightclub has a lot of problems. It makes the authorities tired,” he said.

Club manager Victor Chao said neither he nor police discussed closing the disco during a meeting Monday. “They know the problem isn’t from the club and the club owners. It is coming from impunity and the children of VIPs,” Chao said.

The Manhattan Club frequently stays open until the early morning hours and has been the scene of numerous violent fights in the past year. In December several Cambodian men, allegedly inclu­ding Prime Minister Hun Sen’s nephew Nhim Pov, set upon three Japanese tourists with broken bottles outside the disco, badly injuring two.

Chao said private security will slowly be increased while the use of soldiers will be phased out.

(Additional reporting by Matt Reed)


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