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Court hears drug trafficker’s appeal

Buth Reaksmey Kongkea / Khmer Times Share:
Hak Va after his arrest. Fresh News

The Appeal Court yesterday heard the case of a man convicted by Preah Vihear Provincial Court last year and sentenced to seven years in jail for selling drugs to an undercover police officer in Rovieng district in 2017.

Presiding Judge Kim Dany identified him as Hak Va, a 49-year-old beverage vendor from Romony commune in Preah Vihear province’s Rovieng district.

Judge Dany said Mr Va was charged with drug trafficking after he was arrested by provincial anti-drug police in Preah Vihear province on August 24, 2017.

Judge Dany noted that at about 3pm on the day of his arrest, Mr Va travelled on a motorbike and transported a package containing crystal methamphetamine to sell for the price of $2,000 to an undercover police officer, who had disguised himself as a drug dealer. The transaction was planned to take place at a quiet place in Chambok Thom area in Rovieng district.

Judge Dany said during the transaction, provincial anti-drug police officers deployed to the area surrounded Mr Va and arrested him on the spot.

“He was arrested red-handed when he was selling the drugs to the undercover police officer,” Judge Dany said. “After the arrest, police seized a large package of crystal meth weighing 90 grams, one motorbike and three phones from him.”

Judge Dany noted that after his arrest, police brought Mr Va to his house in Romony commune, where police discovered and seized 60 small packages containing crystal meth, one scale, as well as other related drug materials from his house.

In total, police seized 111.59grams of drugs from Mr Va.

Judge Dany said Preah Vihear Provincial Court on July 24 last year convicted and sentenced Mr Va to seven years in jail. The court also ordered him to pay about $2,500 to put into the state budget.

However, Mr Va has appealed to the Appeal Court and requested that the court overturn the charge and release him from prison.

During yesterday’s trial, Mr Va told the court that the judgement handed down by Preah Vihear Provincial Court was unjust because he did not commit the crime that the court had accused him of.

Mr Va said that on the day of his arrest, he was hired by a man named Vong, who looked about the age of 35, and who also promised to pay him $200 to take a black box to an unidentified man in Chambak Thom area in Rumony commune. The unidentified man turned out to be the undercover police officer.

Mr Va said he was arrested by police officers who wore civilian clothes after he handed the box to the man. He added that following his arrest, police opened the box and showed him the drugs stored inside, which he did not know about.

Mr Va stated that after he was arrested, he contacted Mr Vong, who could not be reached.

“I was not a drug trafficker. I only took the job to get paid,” Mr Va told the court. “However, Preah Vihear Provincial Court convicted and sentenced me to seven years in jail.”

“It was an injustice and I do not accept the judgement,” he said. “I would like to ask the Appeal Court to find the truth and justice for me by dropping my charges and freeing me from prison.”

A verdict is due on July 25.

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