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Court tries couple for drug trafficking

Buth Reaksmey Kongkea / Khmer Times Share:
Pha Sopheak, left, leaves court yesterday. KT/Pann Rachana

Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday tried a 20-year-old man and his 16-year-old girlfriend for drug trafficking in Daun Penh district’s Srah Chak commune in March.

Presiding Judge Than Leng identified the two accused as Pha Sopheak, 20, and Lem Nita, 16, who are from Srah Chak commune, in Phnom Penh’s Daun Penh district.

Judge Leng said both were charged with drug use and trafficking, noting that the couple were often hired by drug traffickers to sell drugs in Srah Chak commune, where they were arrested at about 11pm on March 19 by municipal anti-drug police officers.

“They were arrested by police while they were standing and waiting for buyers near the railway in Srah Chak commune,” Judge Leng said. “Police seized a package of crystal methamphetamine weighing 50grams from them.”

Following the arrests, police conducted urine tests, which both came back positive for drug use.

During yesterday’s trial, Mr Sopheak and Ms Nita both admitted committing the offence, but noted that they were drug users and not traffickers. They confessed to have been using drugs for over a year before they were arrested, saying that the drugs seized from them did not belong to them but to an unidentified man who approached them that evening.

They said that on the day of their arrest, the unidentified man hired them to sell drugs, promising them a small package of crystal meth for free in return.

They added that they have not received the free drugs from the unidentified man since they were arrested.

They asked the court to drop the charges and release them from prison.

“I was a drug user. I accepted the job from the unidentified man because I did not have any money to buy drugs,” Mr Sopheak said. “But since I was arrested, I have not used drugs any more. I have also learned from my mistake. I promise not to commit the same mistake again,” he added.

“I ask the court to please drop the charges and release me so that I will be able to lead a new life as a better man,” he added.

A verdict is due on July 26.

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