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Court sentences man to 30 years in jail over drugs

Buth Reaksmey Kongkea / Khmer Times Share:
Chao Xieng, right, leaves the municipal court. KT/Siv Channa

Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday sentenced a Lao-Canadian man to 30 years in jail after he was found guilty of trafficking drugs in 2018.

Presiding Judge Im Vannak identified the man as 50-year-old Canadian citizen Chao Xieng. He said Mr Chao was arrested in Chamkar Mon district on August 15, 2018, by the Interior Ministry’s anti-drug police department.

Judge Vannak said police seized 4 kilogrammes of methamphetamine and ecstasy from Mr Chao, therefore he was found guilty of drug trafficking.

“Based on Chao Xieng’s confession during the hearing on Sept 19 and the evidence seized by police on the day of his arrest, the judges’ council has found him guilty,” Judge Vannak said. “The court has decided to convict and sentence him to 30 years in jail. The court also orders him to pay 100 million riels [$25,000] to be put in the state’s coffers.”

Judge Vannak noted that Mr Chao has 30 days to file an appeal.

Deputy prosecutor Long Cheab during the hearing said Mr Chao sold drugs to an undercover police officer who posed as a drug dealer in the district’s Tuol Tumpoung II commune.

“Police arrested him after he handed a black package containing drugs to the undercover police officer,” Mr Cheab said. “After the arrest, police seized two large packages containing crystal meth, weighing 2kg and two phones from him.”

Mr Chao was then brought to his apartment in Tuol Tumpoung II where police seized an additional 2kg of drugs.

Mr Chao yesterday said he will appeal to the Appeal Court to have his sentence and fine reduced.

“I think that both the sentence and payment are very heavy for me.

“I do not have the money to pay for it,” he said.

“I will appeal to a higher court and ask it to reduce my sentence.”

Mr Chao during a hearing on September 19 admitted to the offence.

He said he came to Cambodia as a tourist on July 14, 2018, after meeting a Cambodian-Canadian man who goes by the name Johnny in Montreal.

Mr Chao said Mr Johnny told him to contact a Cambodian man named Serey for a job in Phnom Penh.

Mr Chao said he called Mr Serey after coming to Phnom Penh in August last year.

“When I called Mr Serey to ask him for the job, Mr Serey told me he had one that paid well,” Mr Chao said.

“Mr Serey said my job was to transport drugs and deliver them to clients in the city for him. He promised to pay me $500 for every delivery.”

“At first, I thought the job was illegal, but I needed the job because I did not have any money,” he added. “I needed to support my living costs in Cambodia.”

Mr Chao said Mr Serey sent him four packages of drugs to keep in his apartment and that he had delivered drugs for Mr Serey at least once before he was arrested.

He said that on Aug 15, 2018, at about 2.30pm, Mr Serey called him to deliver 2kg of methamphetamine to an unidentified man in Tuol Tumpoung II commune.

The man turned out to be the undercover police officer.

Mr Chao said after he was arrested, police told him to contact Mr Serey, but he could not be reached.

“I admit that in this case, I worked for the pay because I did not have any money,” he said.

“But, I am not a drug trafficker.”

“The drugs seized did not belong to me, they belonged to Mr Serey who is still at large,” Mr Chao added.

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