Russians Arrested After Fight Over Kazantip Profits

Police arrested two Russian men at a rented villa in Sihanoukville on Saturday after a Moldovan man was injured in a fight that began when one side allegedly demanded a portion of the profits from the upcoming Kazantip music festival, officials said on Sunday.

Men Vanny, chief of the provincial police’s minor crimes bureau, said the fight started at 8:30 p.m. on Friday at the Queenco Casino and Hotel in Bei commune when a group of six men approached another group of four.

Police on Saturday stand near a Sihanoukville villa where officers arrested two Russians involved in a fight at the Queenco Casino and Hotel. (Photo supplied)
Police on Saturday stand near a Sihanoukville villa where officers arrested two Russians involved in a fight at the Queenco Casino and Hotel. (Photo supplied)

Mr. Vanny said one of the four was the general manager for Lotus Tours, whose office is located inside the hotel and is selling tickets for Kazantip — a raucous rave originally held on the Crimean peninsula and set to take place on Koh Puos island off the coast of Sihanoukville from Wednesday until the end of February.

The other three in the group were tourists and friends of the manager, he said.

Shortly after sitting down, the group of six demanded a portion of the profits from Kazantip ticket sales, Mr. Vanny said, citing witness reports to police.

“They said they knew his [the manager’s] wife and children very well and asked him for a 50 percent share of the profits from ticket sales,” he said. “If he did not agree, they said they would kill his wife and children.”

When the manager refused to pay, the bureau chief said, the group of six was joined by two more men, then attacked the group of four.

Mr. Vanny said that only one of the four, who he identified as a 20-year-old Moldovan national, was injured.

“The victim was stabbed in the left side below the rib with a knife and was sent to a local clinic for treatment,” he said, adding that while witnesses also reported gunshots, police did not find any shell casings at the scene.

After the fight, Mr. Vanny said, the attackers fled in a Lexus SUV and a Toyota Tacoma pickup truck, and police gave chase, following them to a rented villa in Bei commune.

Police then surrounded the villa, but did not raid it until Saturday morning, he said.

During the raid, police arrested two Russian nationals on suspicion of intentional violence, Mr. Vanny said, adding that the pair would be sent to the provincial court tomorrow.

Police also confiscated three air-powered guns made to look like real pistols, three Tasers, knives and steel pipes.

Deputy provincial police chief Kol Phally on Sunday identified the two arrested Russians as Alexey Burlacov, 31 and Aleksandr, 30.

“Now, the two are at our police headquarters and we are questioning them about this problem,” Mr. Phally said, adding that officers were still investigating the brawl and searching for more suspects.

Vladimir Palancica, 30, the general manager of Lotus Tours, however, said the men who were arrested were not among his assailants.

“These two people, they are not the criminals,” Mr. Palancica said, identifying the leader of the group that attacked him as an employee of prominent Russian businessman and longtime Sihanoukville resident Nikolai Doroshenko.

“The first one who start to shoot, he works for Mr. Doroshenko…because I saw him many times and he presented himself as chief of security for Mr. Doroshenko,” he said.

“That night in the Queenco Hotel…. He came with 10 people with knives, with guns, with everything,” he said.

Mr. Doroshenko’s son, Ostap Doroshenko, said the man Mr. Palancica was referring to did not work for his family.

“I know his name, but he never worked for us,” he said, adding that both he and his father left for Thailand early last week and were not involved in Friday’s attack.

“I don’t know who is there and make trouble,” he said. “It’s not my business and not my family’s business.”

(Additional reporting by Ben Woods)

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