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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - More women arrested as drugs pour into Cambodia

More women arrested as drugs pour into Cambodia

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

Drugs continued pouring into Cambodia late Wednesday as police seized more than five kilograms of methamphetamines at the Phnom Penh and Siem Reap international airports.

More than 40 kilograms of cocaine and methamphetamines have been intercepted at the Kingdom’s two international airports since August 7.

Major-General Khieu Saman, director of the anti-drug department, said yesterday police had arrested 19-year-old Vietnamese woman Phan Thi Thanh Hang at Phnom Penh International Airport about 5:30pm on Wednesday after she allegedly smuggled almost two kilograms of methamphetamines in luggage from Kenya, via Singapore’s Changi Airport.

“[She] was arrested after collecting her luggage, which contained the drugs, and trying to exit the airport,” Saman said, adding that she had arrived on a separate flight earlier in the day.

Based on information Thanh Hang gave them, police swooped on another passenger, 29-year-old Thai woman Kotatan Miss Napaphon, at Siem Reap International Airport about 30 minutes later, seizing another 3.4 kilograms of methamphetamines.

Nuon Phanny, chief of the Siem Reap provincial police’s anti-drug department, said Napaphon had also travelled from Kenya via Singapore.

“She had hidden many boxes of methamphetamines inside her luggage,” he said.

Both women were being questioned yesterday and would be sent to court to face drug-trafficking charges today.

The arrests came after police discovered a record $1.4 million worth of cocaine in the bags of two women at the Phnom Penh International Airport on Monday and Tuesday.

Rodsiri Rungeiwa, 24, and Cha Ereedagorn, 35, have each been accused of trafficking more than 14 kilograms in their baggage from Brazil, via Singapore.

Thai woman Eigean Sod Utsanee, 20, was detained at the same airport on Monday after police allegedly found almost five kilograms of methamphetamines, believed to be from Ghana, in her luggage.

Saman told the Post those women were sent to court yesterday.

“Until now, they are still being questioned,” he said. “We do not know whether the court will officially charge them today or not,” he said.

Two more Thai women – Varangkran A Phomdee, 29, and her alleged accomplice, Tangboo Ketkard, 31 – were arrested last Tuesday, accused of trafficking more than three kilograms of cocaine from Ecuador, also via Singapore. They were charged and faced court on Saturday.

Police have said they believe the majority of the drugs seized were destined for Thailand, and officers were investigating ways of smashing regional drug rings.

Police officials in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap yesterday refused to comment on airport security.

An official from the airport branch of the Singapore Police Force said he could not provide information about airport security without having received a prior written request.

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

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