Staff Says Local Nightclub Safe Despite Attacks

Despite the second reported at­tack on a woman at the popular Phnom Penh nightclub Heart of Darkness in less than eight months, staff at the bar said Mon­day that its security is sufficient.

Darren Clifton, who works with an Australian government aid agen­cy, said Monday that his wife was beaten in the head and face by a Cambodian man on May 6 af­ter she allegedly bumped the man’s sister on the dance floor at the club.

Clifton said the man grabbed his wife’s hair and started punching her, giving her a black eye, bruising her scalp and pulling out some of her hair.

A group of fellow expatriates in­ter­vened to stop the man, Clifton said, and staff at the bar eventually kicked him out.

Police are waiting on the court to issue an arrest warrant, Clifton said, adding that he doesn’t know the name of the suspect but be­lieves he may be the son of a highranking official.

Clifton said he doesn’t feel the Heart of Darkness is safe and blas­ted its security.

“People really need to be warn­ed about this,” he said.

After the attack, the suspect fled in a white Toyota Hilux sport utilities vehicle with his friends but has since been seen back at the bar, Clifton claimed.

“It’s mind-boggling that this person has been allowed back in the club,” he said.

Ko Ma, a manager of Heart of Darkness, said Monday that he was aware of the incident but that he and other staff didn’t know any details.

“We [don’t]  exactly know what happened…because [there were] too many people,” he said, adding that security at the bar is good considering the number of patrons it has.

“[There are] a lot of customers on the dance floor,” he said.

He denied that the suspect has been allowed back to the club.

“I haven’t seen him for a while,” Ko Ma said, adding “I [don’t] ex­act­ly know who he is.”

Hy Prou, foreigner department justice police chief, would not say whe­ther the suspect has been ar­res­ted but said the case has been sent to court.

In November, a Cambodian student was arrested at Heart of Dark­ness after hitting a female English aid worker over the head with a beer bottle during a dispute.

(Addi­tional reporting by Saing Soenthrith)

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