Cambodia’s Anti-Corruption Unit is unable to investigate alleged widespread bribe-taking among officials regarding two big cockfighting rings said to be owned by a relative of Prime Minister Hun Sen because there are no grounds for an inquiry, according to The Phnom Penh Post Online on Tuesday.
Om Yentieng, the head of the unit, told hundreds of journalists at a work shop in Phnom Penh on Monday that the owner of the cockfighting rings was not afraid of anyone except Prime Minister Hun Sen.
“Do you see? He is not afraid of the police chief, he is not afraid of anyone – including the provincial governor and the minister of interior,” said Om Yentieng.
When asked why the Kindal provincial officials allowed to rings to operate for so long, Yentieng replied: “It doesn’t mean they didn’t want to, but they couldn’t.”
The two rings in Kandal and Takeo were raided earlier this month and Thai Phany, a nephew-in- law of Hun Sen, surrendered and was charged with running an illegal gambling den.
The officials also seized documents allegedly showed what appeared to be payments paid to officials to turn their blind eyes to the illegal operations.
But Yentieng said they could not take any action based on the documents. “Can we take action based on just one piece of paper? They can write whatever they want,” he told the reporters.
Kandal governor Mao Phirun, meanwhile, denied that he and his officials were not cowed by fear of Phany or his relatives. “If we were scared, why did we come to crackdown?” he asked.
Transparency International executive director Prep Kol said only the public could judge now.