Accused weapons smugglers freed

Buth Reaksmey Kongkea / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
The court dropped the charges two years after they were laid. Koh Santepheap

FOUR men, including three Cambodians and one Vietnamese, accused of selling chemical weapons left Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday as free men after nearly two years behind bars.

The four men were released after the court dropped the charges against them and released them unconditionally. They had been charged over the selling of two litres of liquid suspected to be chemical weapons for $3.3 million to undercover agents in Phnom Penh in 2016.

The court’s decision came after it re-conducted their trial on June 15 following laboratory tests that reported the suspected liquids contained no chemicals, or nuclear or radioactive content.

Presiding Judge Seng Leang identified the four as Chea You, 44, a Vietnamese national, and Cambodians Chan Thoeun, 58, Tith Reaksmey, 44, and Dy Vibol, 32.

Police with one of the accused and the seized liquids after arrests in 2016. Koh Santepheap

Judge Leang noted that they had been charged by the prosecutor with producing and transporting substances and liquids of chemical weapons, nuclear weapons, arms and radiation.

He said they were arrested on Aug 30, 2016, by the anti-drug police in Phnom Penh’s Por Senchey district after they brought two litres of liquid to sell to undercover police at a price of $3.3 million.

He added that after their arrests, anti-drug police seized the liquids, which were suspected to be chemical, nuclear and radioactive weapons.

“But based on the trial and in accordance with the result of an examination of the suspected liquids seized from the four accused, the liquids contained no such nuclear or radioactive substances,” the judge said. “Therefore, the court has decided to drop the charges.”

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