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Foreigners tried for trafficking ecstasy

Buth Reaksmey Kongkea / Khmer Times Share:
Lai Kuan Yu, left, outside court for an earlier bail hearing. KT/Chor Sokunthea

Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday tried a Taiwanese national and a Chinese national who allegedly transported more than ten kilograms of ecstasy through a post office in the capital in July.

Presiding Judge Seng Rithy identified the Taiwanese as Lai Kuan Yu, 25, and the Chinese as Lin Chin Chai, 24.

He said they were arrested on July 10 and were charged with drug transport and trafficking. Both accused face life in prison if convicted.

Judge Rithy said that at about 10am on July 9, workers at the Daun Penh district post office seized a big box weighing 13.10 kilograms which was shipped from Germany to Cambodia.

He said the box was addressed to Mr Lai along with his contact number and address in Tuol Tumpong commune.

Judge Rithy said that the postal workers suspected that the box contained drugs and alerted police at the Interior Ministry’s Internal Security Department.

He said that police inspected the box and found packages of ecstasy weighing 10,000.40 grams inside.

Judge Rithy noted that after seizing the drugs, police in collaboration with the court prosecutor and postal authorities prepared a plot to arrest Mr Lai.

He said that at about 11am on July 10, a postal officer telephoned the accused and asked him to come to collect the box addressed to him.

Judge Rithy added that Mr Lin, however, came to the post office to collect the box on Mr Lai’s behalf and was arrested immediately.

“Mr Lin was arrested red-handed when he came to receive the packages of drugs sent from Germany to Cambodia,” he said. “Based on the accused’s confession, police later arrested Mr Lai, who owned the shipment, at his rental house in Tuol Tumpoung commune.”

During yesterday’s trial, both accused denied the allegations, saying they were not the owners of the drugs sent from Germany. They requested the judges’ council to drop their charges and release them.

Mr Lin told the court that on the day of his arrest, he was asked by his friend Mr Lai to collect a box containing coffee beans, which were sent from Germany to the post office.

“But when I collected the box at the post office, police arrested me and accused me of being a trafficker,” he said. “After arresting me, police showed me the drugs and alleged that I transported them from Germany.”

“I was very surprised to see the drugs because I did not know anything about them,” he added. “I am innocent. Please drop the charge and release me.”

Mr Lai claimed in court yesterday that sometime in June, a Chinese businessman friend named Da Niva, living in Preah Sihanouk province, borrowed a copy of his passport and took down his address so that he could order coffee beans from a friend in Germany and open a coffee shop in the capital.

He said that Mr Da used his address to facilitate the shipment from Germany.

Mr Lai added that after his arrest he could not contact Mr Da who is at large.

“I do not know anything about this case and am not the owner of the drugs seized by police,” he said. “Please find truth and justice for me.”

A verdict is due on December 28.

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