The Appeal Court yesterday upheld the sentencing of a Vietnamese national to seven years in jail for selling drugs worth $500 to an undercover police officer in Phnom Penh’s Chbar Ampov district last year.
Presiding Judge Kim Dany identified him as Nguve Vangtai, 29, a Vietnamese national and a carpenter living in Chbar Ampov I commune in Phnom Penh’s Chbar Ampov district.
Judge Dany said Mr Vangtai was charged with drug trafficking after he was arrested by the Interior Ministry’s Anti-Drug Police Department on May 31 last year.
She noted that at about 8pm on the day of the arrest, a police officer posing as a drug dealer ordered a package of drugs worth $500 from Mr Vangtai, who was at the time suspected of trafficking drugs in the district.
She added that at about 8.30pm, Mr Vangtai travelled on a motorbike to bring the package of drugs to the undercover police officer, who was waiting at a quiet place in Chbar Ampov I commune.
Mr Vangtai was arrested during the transaction. Police seized a package of methamphetamine weighing 79.37 grams, one motorbike and one phone from him.
Judge Dany said Phnom Penh Municipal Court on December 9 convicted Mr Vangtai and sentenced him to seven years in jail. The court also ordered him to put about $3,750 into the state budget.
Mr Vangtai then appealed to the Appeal Court to reduce his sentence.
“Based on the trial, the evidence police seized from Nguve Vangtai on the day of his arrest, as well as his confession during the trial, the judges’ council at the Appeal Court understands and considers that the ruling of Phnom Penh Municipal Court dated December 9, 2018 was correct and was made in accordance with the law,” Judge Dany said.
“Therefore, the judges’ council at the Appeal Court has decided to uphold the ruling of Phnom Penh Municipal Court dated December 9 as effective,” she added.
Mr Vangtai could not be contacted for comment.
However, during his hearing on August 12, Mr Vangtai said he was not a drug trafficker, but a drug user.
He said that on the night of his arrest, he was hired by an unidentified man to deliver a package of drugs to a customer at a slum area in Chbar Ampov district.
Mr Vangtai said the man paid him about $12.50 for the job.
He added that he was arrested by police officers who wore civilian clothes after he handed over the package of drugs to a man, who was an undercover police officer.
Mr Vangtai added that after he was arrested, he telephoned the unidentified man who hired him, but he could not be reached.
“I have been using drugs for more than three years,” he said. “At first I used it so that I could stay up at night to do my work. But after using it many times, I became addicted.”
“I only did the job to make money to buy drugs for my own use,” he said.