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Another big coke bust at Siem Reap airport

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A Cambodian airport security officer checks a member of staff at Siem Reap International Airport. Photograph: Tang Chhin Sothy/ AFP

A joint force of immigration, customs, military police and anti-drug officers arrested two Thai women with more than 11 kilograms of cocaine at the Siem Reap International Airport on Monday afternoon, a provincial police official said yesterday.

Nuon Sophanny, chief of the Siem Reap Provincial Anti-Drug Police Department, said Yawa Nophat Waraporn, 20, and Chaithong Orrapun, 26, were picked up on a tip from customs officials after touching down in Cambodia, where police believe the pair planned to cross into Thailand.

Monday’s bust is the third instance in the past two months of large quantities of drugs being intercepted at the Siem Reap airport en route to Thailand, with authorities seizing 9 kilograms of methamphetamines in August and September.

“These two Thai women had smuggled cocaine from Brazil to Cambodia via a transfer at the Singapore airport to the Siem Reap International Airport,” said Sophanny.

“They were arrested by our Cambodian forces when they were trying to take their drugs and exit the airport.”

According to Sophanny, police seized a total of 6.45 kilos of cocaine in Yawa Nophat Waraporn’s luggage, and 5 kilos in Chaithong Orrapun’s.  

Sophanny added that, in their interrogation, the women admitted to having bought the drugs in Brazil, and to planning to import them to Thailand via the Cambodian border.

“This is the third time our competent forces have cracked down on drug trafficking activities and arrested foreign drug dealers in Siem Reap province this year,” he continued.

The pair will not be sent to court for official charges until sometime today, Sophanny said, as police are still looking for possible accomplices.

Including Yawa Nophat and Chaithong, at least 10 alleged traffickers have been arrested in connection with airport seizures this year. 

The airport busts have netted more than 36 kilograms of cocaine and methamphetamines, all thought to be destined for Thailand.

Khieu Saman, director of the Ministry of Interior’s Anti-Drug Police Department, could not be reached for comment.

To contact the reporter on this story: Buth Reaksmey Kongkea at reaksmeykongkea.buth@phnompenhpost.com
With assistance from Thik Kaliyann

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