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Municipal court tries four men for drug trafficking

Buth Reaksmey Kongkea / Khmer Times Share:
Ouch Bandoul and Pum Chenghuon leave the municipal court. KT/Pann Rachana

Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday tried four men, including two soldiers, for alleged drug use and trafficking committed in Sen Sok district in June.

Judge Koy Sao identified them as Ouch Bandoul, 27, and Pum Chenghuon, 27, both soldiers and students at the Institute of National Defence at the Ministry of Interior in Phnom Penh, as well as security guards Hem Khemarin, 37, and Hem Ninea, 23.

Judge Sao said they were charged with drug use and trafficking after they were arrested by Sen Sok district police in O’Bek Ka’am commune on June 20.

He noted that at about 10am on the day of the arrest, the four accused men were smoking drugs in their rental house in O’Bek Ka’am village in O’Bek Ka’am commune.

Judge Sao said that while they were smoking inside, a neighbour alerted commune police of their activities.

He added that after receiving the report, district police in cooperation with commune police raided the accused’s rental house at about 10.30am and arrested them immediately.

“They were arrested while they were smoking drugs inside their rental house,” Judge Sao said. “After their arrests, police seized two packages of methamphetamine and other drug paraphernalia from them.”

He added that the four men all tested positive for drug use.

During yesterday’s hearing, the four accused denied they were drug traffickers but confessed to using drugs.

They all confessed that they had been using drugs for more than two years before they were arrested.

They said that they bought drugs from an unidentified man for their own personal use and not for distribution.

The four accused requested the court to drop the charge of drug trafficking.

Mr Khemarin told the court that he began using drugs in 2016, saying that he started using drugs to be able to stay up at night for work. He said he eventually became addicted.

“I am not a drug trafficker but only a victim of drug addiction,” Mr Khemarin said. “I acknowledge my mistake. I promise that I will not repeat it again.”

“I ask the court to drop the charge and free me from prison so that I will be able to resume my work and support my family,” he added.

Deputy prosecutor Khieu Phalla said that although they all denied the allegations, the four accused’s activities violated Cambodia’s Law on Control of Drugs. He noted that they face one to three years each in jail.

“Based on the evidence that police seized from them, in the name of the prosecutor, I suggest the judge to punish them in accordance with the law,” Mr Phalla said.

A verdict is due on October 13.

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