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Cop, family caught in drug bust

Cop, family caught in drug bust

APOLICE officer in Preah Sihanouk prov-ince accused of running a methamphetamine ring has been charged and placed in pretrial detention, and his two children have also been arrested, officials said Tuesday, continuing a recent string of cases in which police have been accused of dealing drugs.

Provincial police Chief Tak Vantha said Lim Samay, 44, had been arrested on Monday at a hotel in Sihanoukville, ending an investigation that he said had “lasted for months”. A search of his home following the arrest yielded crystal methamphetamine, known as tuck kork (ice), and tablets of yama, another form of methamphetamine, Tak Vantha said.

“We later found at his house three parcels of [methamphetamine] weighing 9.2 grams, and 99 yama pills weighing 18.3 grams in a safe, as well as a handgun,” he said.

In addition to Lim Samay’s daughter and son, who have not been charged, police also arrested a soldier based in the province, and all three have been sent to the court for questioning, Tak Vantha said.

“The whole family has run this business for months, and we have sent them to provincial court on Tuesday,” he said.

Sor Lina, an investigating judge at the provincial court, said Tuesday that Lim Samay had been charged with drug trafficking.

“We have already ordered Lim Samay to serve pretrial detention pending further investigation, and we are still interrogating the suspect’s daughter and son, as well as the military official,” he said.

Earlier this month, military police announced that they were investigating a police official at the Interior Ministry after a raid that netted 400 grams of methamphetamine, and that they suspected the official was the head of a drug-trafficking ring in the capital. Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak said Tuesday that the official had not been arrested.

In October, Phnom Penh Municipal Court charged Touch Muysor, the former head of the city’s Anti-drug Trafficking Bureau, with possession of illegal drugs and bribery. He was arrested and charged after 8,000 methamphetamine pills worth around US$100,000 were found in his office. Touch Muysor remains in pretrial detention.

Khieu Sopheak said he did not believe the arrests were indicative of widespread police involvement in drug trafficking.

“We have seen only one or two police officials arrested in connection with drug trafficking, and they should not put blame on the good reputations of police who ensure the security of society.”

Sok Sam Oeun, director of the legal aid organisation Cambodian Defenders Project, also said that, despite the recent arrests, he does not think drug-dealing is common among police officers.

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