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Supreme Court upholds drug trafficker’s conviction

Buth Reaksmey Kongkea / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
Vietnamese drug trafficker Van Vay. Supplied

The Supreme Court yesterday upheld 25-year sentences handed to two Vietnamese nationals convicted of trafficking more than 38 kilograms of ketamine powder in Phnom Penh in 2014.

Presiding Judge Khim Pon identified them as Van Vay, 49, and Le Menglam, 33, who were convicted of drug possession and trafficking.

Judge Pon said that Mr Van was arrested in January 2014 by anti-drug trafficking police in Daun Penh district while Mr Le is still at large.

He said that on March 13, 2015, Mr Van was convicted by Phnom Penh Municipal Court and sentenced to 25 years in prison. Judge Pon added that Mr Le was also convicted in absentia.

He said the Appeal Court upheld the decision in April 2016. Judge Pon added that in June 2016, Mr Van appealed to the Supreme Court, which heard the case on Monday.

“The Supreme Court considers that the judgement by the Appeal Court in 2016 is right and was made in accordance with Cambodian laws,” he said yesterday. “Therefore, the Supreme Court has decided to uphold the sentence.”

The Supreme Court also upheld Mr Le’s conviction in absentia and ordered police to find and arrest him for him to serve his sentence.

Mr Van declined to comment on the verdict yesterday.

However, during his appeal on Monday he continued to plead his innocence.

Mr Van told the court that the seized drugs belonged to Mr Le who is still at large.

“The reason why I decided to appeal against my sentence to the Supreme Court was because I wanted the court to find justice and the truth for me,” he told the court. “I was not the owner of the drugs seized by police.”

“They belonged to Le Menglam but I was sentenced to 25 years in prison,” Mr Van added.

According to a police report, Mr Van was arrested in January 2014 while he transported more than 12 kilograms of powder hidden in five dolls to send them to Australia via a post office in Daun Penh district.

It said that while he was temporarily detained in Prey Sar prison, he telephoned a previous client, who was an undercover police officer, and asked him to help move more drugs from his rental condominium unit in Tuol Kork district to another rental house in Sen Sok district.

The report added that after the undercover officer passed on the information, the Interior Ministry’s anti-drug trafficking police raided the condominium and seized nearly 39 kilograms of ketamine powder.

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