Over 140 Arrested in Sihanoukville ‘Obama’ Nightclub Drug Raid

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Police arrested 146 people and confiscated drugs and drug paraphernalia in a Chinese-owned nightclub — called the “Obama Club” — in Sihanoukville on July 25, 2019. (Preah Sihanouk Provincial Administration)

Police arrested 146 people and confiscated drugs and drug paraphernalia in a Chinese-owned nightclub — called the “Obama Club” — in Sihanoukville early Thursday morning, Preah Sihanouk provincial police said.

Authorities raided the venue in Buon commune at 4 a.m. and detained the nightclub’s clientele and managers, said police chief Chuon Narin. He initially said there were at least 10 Cambodians among those arrested, but later clarified that everyone arrested was Chinese.

Six dealers were among those arrested, Narin said. All those who were arrested would eventually be sent to court, but police questioning would take some time due to the need for interpreters, he said.

Narin would not say whether the suspected owner of the nightclub, who was not arrested in the raid, was Chinese or Cambodian.

“We arrested more than 100 people but we have not finished our work,” he said. “There were some related drugs and [the stimulant] amphetamine that was already used.”

Photos from inside the club on the provincial police’s Facebook page show trays with lines of white powder as well as small bags of the substance.

Narin said 44.9 grams of ketamine and 54.1 grams of ecstasy were confiscated from the scene.

On Monday, during a meeting on the government’s anti-drug campaign — which launched at the start of 2017 — National Police Commissioner Neth Savoeun ordered police officials to work to rid the nation of criminal groups who were processing, distributing and exporting — but not producing — illegal drugs inside Cambodia.

Savoeun said traffickers were importing the raw materials of synthetic drugs for processing within the country.

Since January, authorities arrested at least 7,600 people for drug-related crimes and confiscated 312 kg of drugs, a National Police report said. In 2018, 16,000 people were arrested for alleged drug crimes and 536 kg of drugs were seized, according to government figures.

A report from the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime released this month said methamphetamine seizures in Cambodia rose 700 percent from 2014 to 2018, the third-highest increase in the region behind Myanmar and Laos.

(Translated and edited from the original article on VOD Khmer)

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