Oknha Tan Senghak (C) is escorted by police officers following a shoot-out and drug bust in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district, Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2012. Photograph: Pha Lina/Phnom Penh Post
An oknha, his wife, daughter, two sons and twelve others were arrested by anti-drug police during a Phnom Penh drug raid that nearly caught the parties red-handed.
Police said the tycoon, Tan Senghak, who allegedly doubles as a well-connected dealer, had been smoking methamphetamine just minutes before the bust.
In the raid on the Sen Sok district house, officials uncovered a wide assortment of drugs including crystal methamphetamine and a large bag of cocaine.
“They were a group of drug users and distributors. They were arrested when our police forces raided Oknha Tan Senghak’s villa in Phnom Penh’s Thmey commune,” Soeung Nol, chief of the anti-drug police office at the Ministry of Interior, said.
Police had staked out the house and surrounded it about 9am, then fired three shots in the air to scare them off from trying to make a dash for it, Nol said.
“After questioning, four of the 16 suspects were released by police because they were not involved with this case. So we have freed them,” he said, adding that two of those who had been released were Tan Senghak’s sons.
Three Chinese nationals were also arrested during the raid and remained in custody at the Ministry of Interior along with Senghak, 50, his wife Long Nary, 52, and his daughter Tan Sothea, 25, who Nol said were still being questioned and expected to be formally charged in the coming days.
Along with the drug stash, police seized $2,500 in cash, ten bullets, a large package of pipes, jewellery, two passports, nine mobile phones, four digital cameras, nine motorbikes and a car, Nol said.
Major-General Khieu Saman, chief of the Ministry of Interior’s anti-drug department, said his forces had spent about two weeks investigating Senghak’s activities before launching the raid yesterday.
“This was another success where our police have cracked down on drug trafficking, and have arrested drug traffickers in Cambodia,” he said, adding that they would continue their hard work to fight drug dealers.
Indeed, anti-drug police have been busy this year making some of the biggest busts in recent memory, including a series of raids at Phnom Penh and Siem Reap international airports in August that netted more than 40 kilograms of cocaine and methamphetamine.
Senghak and his family could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Chea Meth, a deputy prosecutor at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court who led the police during the raid, also could not be reached.