Police have detained more than 250 people on drug charges in a raid on a Phnom Penh nightclub owned by the brother of one of Cambodia’s richest men.
The raid on the Rock Entertainment Center on Saturday netted 29 alleged drug dealers, 231 alleged users, 50 kilograms of drugs and one pistol, according to a police spokesman.
In a statement released on Saturday, City Hall said the raid occurred shortly before 2 a.m. on Saturday morning, leading to the mass detentions.
The Rock Entertainment Center, owned by Kith Theang, the elder brother of Royal Group chairman Kith Meng, who is a close associate of Prime Minister Hun Sen, was closed to allow the authorities to investigate.
Chhay Kimkhoeun, a National Police spokesman, said the 29 dealers would be taken to court.
He would not comment on any action that may be taken against Theang, saying that “it could ruin people’s reputation”.
Am Sam Ath, a senior investigator for rights group Licadho, said the crackdown was indicative of the wider drug abuse problem in Cambodia.
"If we look at the crackdown now, it's different from before. We see this time it is a large-scale case that we have never seen before. So we want the crackdown to be effective so that we can find all people who have been involved. Secondly, there must be further implementation of this approach elsewhere, where there are subsequent doubts."
Under Cambodia’s law on controlling drugs, the owner of an establishment that permits illegal drug-taking could face up to five years in prison.
According to official figures, Cambodian authorities recorded some 8,000 drug cases last year, detaining more than 16,000 people and seizing more than 530 kilograms of illegal drugs.