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Suspected illegal chemicals seized at port


Police officers inspect barrels of chemicals that were seized yesterday at the Sihanoukville Autonomous Port. Photo Supplied

More than 16 tonnes of an unrefined, unknown chemical liquid had been seized by Sihanoukville Autonomous Port customs officials on suspicion of being an illegal precursor chemical, police said yesterday.

San Bunthan, head of the provincial anti-drug office in Preah Sihanouk, said provincial customs officials had detected the liquid in a six-metre container on a Malaysian flagged ship coming from Sing­apore.

“We found it was a chemical liquid like a kind of glue for making shoes, but we are not clear what the substance will be used for, so we took some of the liquid to experts in a laboratory in Phnom Penh,” Bunthan said.

The 80 buckets of chemicals, totalling 16,400 kilograms, would remain at the port until clarification of the chemicals use was gained, he said.

The container had left Malaysia on August 13 and was later transferred to a new vessel in Singapore before arriving at the Sihanoukville autonomous port on August 23, Bunthan said.

On September 4, the director of the Xiang Rui Xiang Co Ltd company, which owns the container, sent a letter to director general of Customs and Excise Pen Simorn, asking him to check the contents of the container as the company had not received appropriate paperwork on the delivery.

The Xiang Rui Xiang director, Lou Helin, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Meas Virith, deputy secretary general at the National Authority for Combating Drugs, said yesterday that his office was yet to receive the liquid for laboratory testing to determine whether the enormous amount of chemical was a precursor chemical or a banned substance.

“If the chemical liquid is a precursor, we will keep it and take it to the court to proceed with the case,” he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kim Yuthana at



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