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Journalist hired by dealers stands trial for drug trafficking

Buth Reaksmey Kongkea / Khmer Times Share:
The accused, Yung Kunneang, leaves the Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday. KT/Siv Channa

Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday began the trial of a local journalist accused of drug use and trafficking in the capital.

Presiding Judge Hong Sokunwathana identified the accused as Yung Kunneang, 35, publisher of Khmer Te Muoy Newspaper and living in Chbar Ampov district’s Niroth commune.

Judge Sokunwathana said Kunneang was charged with “drug use and trafficking” under Articles 40 and 45 of the Law on Drug Control after being arrested on March 23.

Judge Sokunwathana said Kunneang was a journalist, but because of his drug use had become involved with a local group of dealers who hired him to transport drugs in Phnom Penh.

He said on the day of the arrest, the accused was caught delivering a package to an undercover police officer, who ordered methamphetamine from a female member of the drug-dealing group known as Vin.

During the police operation, the undercover official waited to buy the drugs from the woman at a guesthouse room located in Chak Angkre Loeu commune.

“However, Kunneang delivered the package instead, after which he was arrested,” Judge Sokunwathana said.

“Police seized a package of crystal methamphetamine weighing 56 grammes, one phone and his motorbike at the scene,” he said.

After his arrest, the suspect also tested positive for drug use, he added.

At yesterday’s trial, Kunneang denied the allegations, saying that he was not a drug trafficker.

However, Kunneang confessed that he was a drug user and did the deal to support his drug habit.

Kunneang said on the day of his arrest, he was promised $50 and a small package of crystal methamphetamine by Vin if he delivered the package to the guesthouse.

He said the woman, who was around 42 years old, also promised to have sex with him after he delivered the package.

After the arrest, police ordered the suspect to call Vin, but she could not be reached.

“I would like to confess that I am a drug user, but I am not a drug trafficker. I did not own the drugs seized,” Kunneang told the court.

Judge Sokunwathana said Vin was not charged by the court because police could not verify her identity, involvement or whereabouts.

A verdict is due to be handed down on July 29.

 

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