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Six arrested over mystery powder bags

Six men were arrested at 6am yesterday in Mondulkiri province for transporting what Koh Nhek district police forces believed to be explosive compounds.

Klot Vuthear, Koh Nhek district police chief, said the six arrested included Chinese national Xiao Fei, 39; his translator, Seng Hong, 27; two drivers and two assistants, all working for an unnamed company in Preah Vihear province.

According to Vuthear, the drivers claimed they were transporting “chemical fertilizer”. When pressed for documentation, Fei had none.

“Suspicious, we opened the bags and found white powder.

We tested it with a lighter and found it was flammable . . . We arrested everyone”, Vuthear said.

Eng Savoeun, head of the provincial headquarters’ Explosive Weapons Office, said early testing had revealed some of the 270 individual bags to contain nothing more than coconut powder and baking soda.

“Based on preliminary results, we concluded that the white powder is not explosive,” he confirmed.

Authorities continued to interrogate the six men into the evening and are investigating a third, crystalline substance found.



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