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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Drug bust suspect nabbed at border

Drug bust suspect nabbed at border

A Vietnamese-Canadian dual citizen, thought to be one of the leaders of a drug ring busted with 3,000 litres of safrole oil by police last week, was sent to Phnom Penh municipal court yesterday, authorities said.

Pen Rath, deputy municipal police chief, said yesterday that police intercepted Vu Ngoc Tuon, 52, on his way to Vietnam, arresting him on the evening of May 6 at the Bavet international checkpoint on the Cambodia-Vietnam border in Svay Rieng province.

“We were able to arrest the suspect in Bavet because we had already given his identity to all police,” he said.

Safrole oil is used in the production of the drug ecstacy.

The suspect denied allegations of producing and keeping drug substances, Pen Rath said, adding the police had strategic questions they would ask him.

The ring’s other leaders, allegedly a Vietnamese couple, are thought to have already escaped to a neighboring country.

Authorities released three of the 11 original suspects after finding no evidence of their involvement in the drug manufacturing and trafficking organisation.

The remaining eight have been charged, and are being detained in the police station in Por Senchey district for further questioning.

“The court has to question many relevant people before deciding to transfer them to prison [to await trial], so it decided to detain them in Por Senchey district,” Pen Rath said.

Bun Samath, police chief of Por Senchey district, said the three former suspects were released on the orders of the Phnom Penh municipal prosecutor, but would not say when.

To contact the reporter on this story: Chhay Channyda at



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