The Appeal Court yesterday heard the case of a Vietnamese national convicted by Phnom Penh Municipal Court last year and sentenced to seven years in jail for selling drugs worth $500 to an undercover police officer in Chbar Ampov district.
Presiding Judge Kim Dany identified him as Nguve Vangtai, a 29-year-old carpenter from Phnom Penh’s Chbar Ampov district.
Judge Dany said Mr Vangtai was charged with drug trafficking after he was arrested by the Interior Ministry’s anti-drug police department on May 31 last year.
He noted that at about 8pm on May 31 last year, a police officer posing as a drug dealer, ordered a package of drugs worth $500 from Mr Vangtai, who was at the time suspected of distributing drugs.
Judge Dany said that at about 8.30pm that night, Mr Vangtai travelled on a motorbike and brought the drugs to the undercover police officer, who waited at a quiet spot in Chbar Ampov I commune.
Officers deployed to the location then moved in to arrest Mr Vangtai when he handed over the drugs.
“He was arrested red-handed when he sold the drugs to the undercover police officer,” Judge Dany said. “After the arrest, police seized a package of methamphetamine weighing 79.37 grams, one motorbike and a phone from him.”
Judge Dany noted that Phnom Penh Municipal Court on December 9 last year convicted Mr Vangtai and sentenced him to seven years in jail. The court also ordered him to pay about $3,750 to put into the state budget.
Mr Vangtai then appealed the ruling to the Appeal Court and requested for a reduced sentence.
During his hearing yesterday, Mr Vangtai told the court that the judgement was unjust.
He said that on the night of the arrest, he was hired by an unidentified Cambodian man to bring the package of drugs to a customer in Chbar Ampov district. He added that the unidentified man paid him about $12.50 for the job.
Mr Vangtai said he was then arrested by police wearing civilian clothes after he handed over the package. He noted that after he was arrested, he called the unidentified man, who could not be reached.
“I confess that I was a drug user, but not a drug trafficker,” he said. “I only did the job to make money to buy drugs for my own use.”
“I have been using drugs for more than three years. At first, I used it so that I could stay up at night to do my work.” he added. “But after using it many times, I became addicted.”
Mr Vangtai requested the court to reduce his sentence from seven years to three years in jail.
A verdict is due on August 28.