A 26-year-old South African told Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday he was only a drug mule after nearly a kilo of cocaine from Brazil was found in his stomach.
Tourist Blignaut Chan was arrested after police X-rayed him upon his arrival at Phnom Penh International Airport last year.
“He transported nearly one kilogram of cocaine by swallowing it,” Presiding Judge Than Leng said. “He travelled from Brazil to Cambodia.”
Mr Chan has been charged with drug trafficking.
He was arrested in September by police from the Interior Ministry’s anti-drug department in collaboration with custom and excise and immigration police based at the airport.
Police recovered 59 packages of cocaine weighing 759. 95 grams from his stomach. In court yesterday, Mr Chan said he was not a drug trafficker, but worked for pay.
He said the cocaine belonged to a Brazilian man named Austin. Austin had offered him $3,000 to transport the drugs from Brazil and give them to an unidentified woman living in Phnom Penh.
“To hide the drugs safely on the way to Cambodia, Austin ordered me to swallow them,” Mr Chan told the court. “According to Austin, the Cambodian woman who was the owner of drugs would soon contact me by WhatsApp when I arrived in Phnom Penh.”
“But when I was arrested by Cambodian police, I tried to contact Austin by WhatsApp but he could not be reached,” he added. “No one called to pick up the drugs from me.”
He said Austin paid for all his transportation, food and accommodation.
“Since I was detained in prison, I started making myself a good man. I very much regret my mistake. I promise not to do it again,” he said. “I would like to request the judge to reduce my sentence.” A verdict is due July 6.