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Teens tried on drug charges in city court

Six local youths, including two 15-year-old girls, were tried yesterday on drug-related charges at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court.

Four male defendants, whose ages range from 17 to 20, each faced one charge of drug possession and one charge of drug trafficking, while the two girls were charged with drug possession. All were arrested on February 24 and charged by the court on March 3.

Two of the male teens were arrested about 5:30pm on a road near Sunthor Mok High School in Tuol Kork district, presiding judge Kor Vandy said, adding that they had been carrying 50 methamphetamine pills.

After their arrest, the pair provided police with information that led to the arrests of the other four youths three hours later at a guesthouse in Meanchey district’s Prek Pra commune.  

There, police found 10 methamphetamine pills as well as drug paraphernalia, he said.  Municipal court deputy prosecutor Keu Bonnara said all six had dropped out of high school because of their drug use.

Keu Bonnara reminded the court that the six had broken the law and posed a threat to social order, but he also called for lenient sentences, telling the court that the defendants had admitted their wrong-doing and had promised to quit using drugs and return to school.

The six youths also asked for leniency, telling the judge that they wanted to return to high school. Their verdicts are due on August 8.

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Hun Sen approved the Kingdom’s controversial draft drug law, which expands on the legislation for drug offences.

Rights groups have raised concern about provisions in the law that allow for the involuntary detention of drug users for up to two years.

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