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No briefing over heroin haul, arrests

Drugs in the mail

Australian police had yet to formally brief Cambodia after seizing 65 kilograms of a substance containing heroin and arresting two Cambodians, a national police spokesman said yesterday.

Kirth Chantharith said he believed Australian Federal Police (AFP) had not spoken to the government about the haul, which had come from Cambodia, because the men arrested in Australia were now “nationals” of that country.

“The Australian police will not find it necessary to write or report to Cambodia unless . . . they need cooperation from Cambodian police,” he said.

Australia’s Herald Sun newspaper reported Cambodians Sambath Sok and Chhodaphea Kev, who had “limited English”, appeared in court in Melbourne on Monday over heroin found in “herbal hair dye” packages in Sydney.

AFP and the Australian Embassy in Phnom Penh did not comment on whether the drugs seized were part of a bigger drug network in Cambodia.

An embassy spokesperson said Australian government agencies were cooperating “closely” with Cambodia to combat drug trafficking.

Cambodia is the “prominent embarkation” point for heroin that enters Australia, according to a 2009/10 Australian Crime Commission report.

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime country manager Olivier Lermet said UNODC worked with countries such as Australia to strengthen responses to trafficking.

To contact the reporters on this story: Buth Reaksmey Kongkea at buthreaksmey.kongkea@phnompenhpost.com
Shane Worrell at shane.worrell@phnompenhpost.com

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