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Cambodian Social Media Erupts Over Killing of Dozens of Fighting Cocks


FILE PHOTO - Cambodian cocks fight at Kampong Speu province's Tuol Prik village Friday, March 31, 2006. Cambodian officials on Friday swept the village to cull poultry after tests found the virulent H5N1 virus among some of the flock. The virus killed a three-year-old toddler in the village last week. (AP photo/Heng Sinith)

The illegal gambling ring was allegedly run by a relative of Prime Minister Hun Sen, Thai Phanny.

A court order to cull several dozen cockerels found at an illegal fighting ring in Kandal province caused an uproar on Cambodian social media after a judge ruled the animals should be put down following a police raid on the operation.

The illegal gambling ring was allegedly run by a relative of Prime Minister Hun Sen, Thai Phanny.

A video clip posted on Facebook showed police officers apparently beheading the cockerels, while an official told AFP that the authorities had later eaten them.

Preap Kol, head of an anti-corruption group Transparency International’s Cambodia operations, pointed out that while the animals were killed no action had yet been taken against the owner of the operation.

Reporters from the Phnom Penh Post uncovered a trove of documents left by police in the wake of the raid which appeared to show a wide-ranging local network of bribery involving payoffs to local officials and the media.

Soeng Senkaruna, a spokesman for local human rights group Adhoc, said the death of the cockerels had struck a nerve with Cambodians as it represented the “culture of impunity” following the news that the operators of the gambling ring had been freed from jail.

“It’s a story that has made the people speechless as they were not satisfied by the ruling, which ordered the killing of animals in a brutal manner,” he added.

Along with Phanny, the authorities detained 150 others involved in the cockfighting ring, however, dozens of those detained were later arrested when it was discovered they were construction workers.

Iv Chamroeun, Kandal provincial police chief, and Hok Vann Thina, president of Kandal Provincial Court, declined to comment on the case.

However, Roeun Nara, Chamroeun’s deputy, told the AFP news agency that the cockerels were later eaten by officials.

Hun Sen has taken a tough stance on the gambling ring, ordering police to shoot Phanny if he resisted arrest.

Phanny was given a caution and handed a court “monitoring” order, while 64 patrons of the gambling operation were given one-month suspended sentences, according to the Freshnews website.

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