Police from the Interior Ministry’s Anti-Cyber Crime Department on Wednesday arrested three suspected weapons smugglers in Siem Reap province after they posted advertisements selling their wares on Facebook.
The arrests are believed to be linked to the case of a US national who was arrested in Phnom Penh on Wednesday over illegal possession of weapons.
The department’s Facebook page on Saturday identified the suspects as Chea Heaphour, 19; Ley Menglong, 19; and Ly Taing Chheng, 20, all university students.
They were arrested in Siem Reap city and have been remanded for questioning by the provincial court.
Court spokesman Yin Srang yesterday confirmed the three were being detained and said he could not remember the details of the case.
“The court has detained them but I don’t remember when,” Mr Srang said, noting that yesterday was a holiday and that details could be sought today.
In its Facebook post, the Anti-Cyber Crime Department said that the crackdown on the three suspects was done on the orders of National Police chief General Neth Savoeun and was carried out by a team of officers led by department director Lieutenant General Chea Pov in cooperation with provincial police and provincial court prosecutor Keut Vannareth.
“All three suspects confessed that they imported pistols and air guns from a neighbouring country and sold them to buyers in some provinces and the capital through Facebook advertisements,” the statement said. “Lt Gen Pov remind the public that it is illegal to sell weapons even if it is done online.”
Brigadier General Phoeung Chendareth, provincial deputy police chief, yesterday said that his officers cooperated with the Anti-Cyber Crime Department police and arrested the three men on Wednesday, noting that they were sent to the court on Thursday.
“The provincial court on Thursday decided to remand them for further questioning over the illegal trafficking of weapons,” he said. “I cannot comment further because investigations are ongoing.”
He added that the case is related to the one involving US national Abou Raman who was arrested on Wednesday in Phnom Penh and is still being detained for questioning.
Major General Tith Narong, provincial police chief, declined to comment yesterday.
The National Police on Thursday said on its website that Mr Raman, 30, along with Chinese national Li Pei Xian, 32, and 39-year-old Phoeun Sara were arrested in Chamkar Mon district’s Phsar Doeum Thkov commune by officers from its Penal Police Department.
Department director Lieutenant General Ngeng Chaur said police recovered nine guns and 66 bullets from them and the suspects were sent to the municipal court which ordered them to be detained.