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Court hears charges of illegal drug importing

A man accused of illegally importing three tonnes of pharmaceuticals is facing up to 10 years in prison, while his wife and co-accused has eluded arrest.

Heak Chamroeun, 52, a dual Vietnamese and Cambodian citizen, was charged yesterday at Phnom Penh Municipal Court with importing pharmaceuticals without a license and producing fake drugs.

“He imported prohibited pharmaceuticals from Vietnam into Cambodia,” Judge Kor Vandy said of Chamroeun. “He has distributed these medications to pharmacies and wholesalers in Phnom Penh,” he said.

Chamroeun came to police attention in September 2012 when pharmaceutical firm SMCS Consultant Services Co Ltd filed a complaint with the Ministry of Interior alleging its patented medications were being illegally sold in Cambodia, said Brigadier General Long Sreng,deputy director of the Ministry of Interior’s Anti-Economic Crime Police.

After a two-week investigation revealed Chamroeun had stockpiled about three tonnes of 49 different medications, he was arrested on September 22, though his wife Nguven Ngoc May evaded arrest, Sreng said.

In court yesterday, Chamroeun said he and his wife divorced in 2009, and that she imported the pharmaceuticals. A verdict is scheduled for August 6.

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