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Duo in big ketamine bust get day in court

Two Vietnamese nationals were tried by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on charges of drug possession and drug trafficking yesterday in connection with a haul of almost 40kg of powdered ketamine found last February in an apartment they shared in Phnom Penh’s Tuol Kork district.

One of the pair, 46-year-old Vann Vay, was already in police custody after trying to post 12kg of pseudoephedrine powder hidden in figurines to Australia when police found the ketamine a year ago.

He has yet to be tried in connection with the pseudoephedrine case – for which he was also charged with drug trafficking – despite the alleged crime occurring before police seized the ketamine.

Chhouk Kea, a deputy unit chief in the Interior Ministry’s Anti-Drug Police Department, told the court that Vay had been detained at Prey Sar prison in January last year after police caught him trying to post the pseudoephedrine.

A month later, Kea alleged, Vay called someone from prison he believed was a fellow drug trafficker but who was actually an undercover policeman to ask him to move the ketamine to another location.
Police then raided the apartment and found the drugs.

Le Menglam, 30, the co-accused, was tried in absentia yesterday.

Vay has denied the allegations and claimed the ketamine belonged to Menglam.

A verdict is due March 13.

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