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Bodyguard trial restarts

Bodyguard trial restarts

A former member of the Prime Minister’s bodyguard unit, along with two other suspects, reiterated his innocence over accusations of international drug smuggling at a re-trial yesterday.

Hay Chanphearith, 34, an ex-lieutenant colonel, was being tried at Phnom Penh Municipal Court along with Canadian-Vietnamese Ly Vanlanh, 46, who is the owner of the Ly Vanlanh Import & Export Company, and his driver Mai Chunghiv, 32.

All three were arrested last December in connection with a package containing an estimated 1.5 kilograms of pseudoephedrine – a drug used in the production of methamphetamine – that was sent to Cambodia from India using the Fedex service.

A July trial ended when the presiding judge, Ker Sakhorn, ordered police to re-investigate due to a lack of evidence.

At the re-trial yesterday, the suspects gave conflicting accounts. Hay Chanphearith said he had collected the package, but only on the request of his friend Ly Vanlanh.

“He had sent me its code number and asked me to collect it from the company for him when it is arrived from India,” he  said, adding that he did not know its contents.

However, Ly Vanlanh told the court: “I have never asked him to bring the package for me.”

Phnom Penh Municipal Court’s presiding judge, Oeung Seang, said a verdict was due on October 17.

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