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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Cash, drugs siphoned off says court

Cash, drugs siphoned off says court

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Former anti-drug czar Moek Dara appears at the Appeal Court in Phnom Penh last week. Photograph: Heng Chivoan/Phnom Penh Post

Former anti-drug chief Chea Leng pocketed thousands of dollars and methamphetamine pills over the course of his career, the Court of Appeal heard on Friday while examining the 14th to 17th cases against Leng and toppled anti-drug czar Moek Dara.

The four cases examined during the court session all involved Dara and Leng falsifying drug investigations, destroying evidence, accepting bribes to let suspects walk free and keeping seized items for their own use.

In case 14, presiding judge Chay Chandaravann said, Leng allegedly kept a car that was seized in raid of a suspected trafficker’s house in the capital in May 2009.

The 16th case pertained to a November 2008 bust in which Leng allegedly destroyed 500 bottles of methamphetamine pills being held as evidence, and accepted a bribe to release the suspects.

“Chea Leng destroyed the proof and released them in exchange for receiving a bribe of US$30,000,” said Chandaravann, adding that Dara received 50 per cent of the bribe.

In the 17th case, Leng was found guilty of skimming 2,000 methamphetamine pills for his own personal use off the top of a seizure.

Both Dara and Leng admitted to having released prisoners, but denied the charges of corruption, claiming that they only did so in cases in which the suspect was merely a user, and not a dealer.

“I decided to release them because they were only the victims of drug use,” said Leng. “And their releases were also approved by the director of anti-drug police department [Moek Dara] and the prosecutor.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Buth Reaksmey Kongkea at reaksmeykongkea.buth@phnompenhpost.com

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