Police in western Cambodia have burnt almost 8,000 marijuana plants after uncovering a massive crop hidden among sesame plants in Pursat province, with the farmer responsible for the land currently being sought for questioning.
Vong Saret, chief of police in Phnom Kravanh district, where the plantation was uncovered, said yesterday the plants had been brought from Koh Thom district in Kandal province by the farmer who rented the land, 65-year-old Oung Eng.
Eng reportedly hid the 7,637 plants across 6 square kilometres of land that he rented from another local farmer, who reported the illicit activity to police. The owner reportedly noticed the drug crop after inspecting the land when the suspect did not plant the cassava and chillies he originally said he was going to cultivate.
“This act caused the land owner much concern and it drove him to seek the intervention of authorities,” Saret said.
According to Saret, the plants were immediately burned to send a message to local farmers that such criminality will not be tolerated. Eng fled the area when the police arrived and remains wanted for questioning.
Last September, police burned 500 marijuana plants in Kampot, which they valued at $30,000.
However, even if Eng is apprehended, there is a chance he won’t face prison. In January, a 72-year-old farmer in Banteay Meanchey province was caught with 4 kilos of marijuana, but allowed to walk free owing to his advanced age.