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Former police officer tried for drug trafficking

Buth Reaksmey Kongkea / Khmer Times Share:
The former police captain leaves the courthouse. Lok Samreth

Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday tried a former police officer suspected of selling drugs at Rock Entertainment Centre in the city in 2017.

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Presiding Judge Ouk Reth Kunthea identified the accused as Lor Pichseiha, 35, a former captain based at the National Assembly and living in Daun Penh district.

Judge Reth Kunthea said Mr Pichseiha was charged with drug trafficking after he was arrested on November 30, 2017 in Kampong Thom province.

She noted that at about midnight on November 29, 2017, Mr Pichseiha, who was a police officer at the time, along with two friends, including Duch Sovannareth, a military officer, and Keo Phirun, went to Rock Entertainment Centre. They drank and danced until about 2am, she added.

Judge Reth Kunthea said Mr Pichseiha also brought drugs to sell at the centre.

“But when he and his friends got into an argument with a DJ named Bear Sam Oeun, a staffer at Rock Entertainment Centre, Mr Pichseiha took the drugs and fled with his two friends,” she said. “He was arrested along with one of his friends, Mr Phirun, in Kampong Thom province on November 30.”

Judge Reth Kunthea noted that after the arrest, police seized 6.98 grams of ketamine, 15.24 grams of methamphetamine and 2.27 grams of cocaine, along with two pistols, one car and other drug materials from Mr Pichseiha.

She added that the incident from the same night also led to a separate case, after the three men allegedly shot Mr Sam Oeun.

Mr Pichseiha, Mr Phirum, and Mr Sovannareth were all charged with accomplice to attempted murder and unauthorised possession of a weapon for the shooting and will be tried next week, she said.

During his trial for a drug trafficking charge yesterday, Mr Pichseiha denied the allegation, saying that he was a drug user.

Mr Pichseiha told the court that before his arrest, he was a captain working with the Ministry of Interior, but was based that the National Assembly. He said he joined the police force in 2005 and started using drugs in 2015.

Mr Pichseiha said the drugs seized belonged to him, noting that he bought the drugs from an unidentified man at Rock Entertainment Centre.

He added that he bought it for his personal use and to share with friends only, without any intention to distribute.

“I would like to acknowledge that I was a drug user, not a drug trafficker,” he said. “I regret my mistake. I promise I will not commit the same mistake.”

“I would like to ask the court to drop the charge and release me,” he added.

Deputy prosecutor Kham Sophary said he will uphold the charge based on the evidence found.

“Based on the evidence, in the name of the prosecutor, I decide to uphold the charge and suggest the court to punish him in accordance with the law,” Mr Sophary said.

A verdict is due on August 21.

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