Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday jailed a South African man to life in prison for trafficking nearly one kilo of cocaine which was recovered from his stomach.
Presiding Judge Than Leng said Blignaut Chan, 26, came into Cambodia as a tourist from Brazil.
“The court decided to convict him to a life sentence and also fine him 40 million riel [about $10,000],” said Judge Leng, noting that he had been charged with drug trafficking.
The judge said Mr Chan was arrested on September 13 last year by anti-drug police and customs police at Phnom Penh International Airport.
The judge said police X-rayed Mr Chan and found packets of cocaine in his stomach. Police later recovered 59 packages of cocaine weighing 759 grams.
During his trial on June 4, Mr Chan said he was not a trafficker but was couriering the drugs on behalf of a Brazilian man named Austin.
He said Austin promised to pay him $3,000 if he delivered the drugs to an unnamed woman living in Phnom Penh.
“According to Austin, the drugs belonged to the Cambodian woman who would contact me via WhatsApp when I arrived in Phnom Penh,” he said.
“When I was arrested, I tried to contact Austin through WhatsApp but there was no response. I also did not receive a call from anyone over the delivery of the drugs.”
He added that Austin had paid for his trip, food and accommodation, but had not provided the $3,000.