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Verdict stands in drugs case

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Convicted drug producer and trafficker Chea Chong, 45, leaves the Supreme Court in Phnom Penh last month. The verdict in his appeal against his conviction was announced yesterday.

Cambodia's Supreme Court yesterday upheld a verdict against four drugs producers convicted in a high-profile case that also implicated a tycoon who killed himself in 2007.

Judge Saly Theara yesterday upheld the 25-year sentences given to Chea Chong, 45, Chham Nak Chhy, 34, and Chhay Khang Ly, 48, and a 20-year sentence given to Ran Yan, 33, in 2008.

All four were found guilty of producing and distributing drugs at a farm in Kampong Speu province, which was raided in April 2007. The verdict was later upheld in the Appeal Court. Following the farm raid, Um Chhay, a tycoon and advisor to National Assembly president Heng Samrin, killed himself by jumping off a five-metre building in August 2007.

He was implicated in a June hearing at the Supreme Court when Chea Chong stated that he did not know drugs were being produced and accused ‘ringleader’ Um Chhay of persuading him to run a grass-spraying business on the land. A deceased Chinese national, Chin Theanvin, was also implicated in the hearing.

Judge Saly Theara, however, said yesterday that “Chea Chong’s explanation of events was not true” and quashed the appeal.

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