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Rubbish collector on trial over sword

Buth Reaksmey Kongkea / Khmer Times Share:
The accused walks outside the court. KT/Buth Reaksmey Kongkea

Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday tried a rubbish collector accused of possessing a samurai sword and drug use after he was arrested in July.

Judge Khun Sonul identified the accused as Preab Nimol, a rubbish collector from Prek Pnov district.

Judge Sonul said Mr Nimol was charged with unauthorised possession of a weapon and drug use. Mr Nimol could be sent to prison for up to two years if convicted.

He said that on July 19 at about 8.30pm, the accused was collecting rubbish in the districts of Sen Sok and Prek Pnov.

The accused was later stopped by police at a checkpoint in Prek Pnov commune.

Upon inspection, police found the sword, and arrested the accused and tested his urine for drugs.

“After inspecting his motorbike and cart, police found a samurai sword about one metre long, hidden inside the cart,” Judge Sonul said. “Police then arrested him and tested his urine. The test came out positive for drugs.”

During his trial yesterday, the accused denied the sword belonged to him, adding that he found the sword while collecting rubbish on the same night he was arrested in a nearby canal.

He said that the sword looked expensive and thought he could make some money to feed his family by selling it.

“I am a poor rubbish collector,” he said.

However, he confessed that he had been using drugs for about two years in order to stay awake at night so he could work.

“I am a victim of drugs in this case,” he said. “As a rubbish collector, I collect valuable waste so I can make money to support my poor family.”

“I found the sword in a canal in Prek Pnov commune,” he added, adding that the judge should drop the charges and release him from jail. “I kept it so I could sell it. I did not know it was illegal.”

A verdict is due January 21.

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