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Cambodia

Snackdown: Cambodian police officers eat 92 roosters after raid on cockfighting ring

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 28 December, 2017, 4:30pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 28 December, 2017, 4:30pm

Cambodian police ruffled feathers on Thursday after they killed – and ate – 92 roosters that were seized earlier this month during a raid on an illegal cockfighting ring allegedly run by a relative of premier Hun Sen.

The birds were rounded up by police after they closed the two rural cockfighting dens on December 4 and arrested Hun Sen’s nephew-in-law Thai Phany.

Thai Phany, a Cambodian-Australian citizen, was charged with running an illegal gambling operation – a rare legal move against a member of Hun Sen’s powerful family.

But while the raids were welcomed in a country teeming with official corruption, a court order to slaughter all 92 birds set off a flurry of criticism on Thursday as internet users cried foul over the animals being given a harsher sentence than the people involved.

Scores of people were initially detained in the police raid, but most were released after receiving light suspended sentences, according to local media.

“Warrant to kill chickens! Where are the chicken owners, aren’t they freed?” Hing Soksan, former head of the Cambodia National Rescue Party’s youth movement, wrote on Facebook.

“The court’s achievement by the end of 2017: death sentence for 92 fighting cocks,” another Facebook user quipped about a justice system many decry as toothless against the graft underpinning Hun Sen’s government.

Roeun Nara, Kandal province’s deputy police chief, confirmed that the birds were killed on Wednesday following a warrant from the provincial court.

“We gave the chickens to our forces to eat,” he said, brushing off the online criticism.

The court document said the slaughter was ordered “to prevent the offence from happening again and to speed up the investigation proceedings”.