Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Court charges trio in arms trafficking case



Court charges trio in arms trafficking case

The locked gates of  former CMAC official Ub Vireak's home in Battambang province, where he was arrested last week for alleged involvement in cross-border arms smuggling.
The locked gates of former CMAC official Ub Vireak's home in Battambang province, where he was arrested last week for alleged involvement in cross-border arms smuggling. Heng Chivoan

Court charges trio in arms trafficking case

Three men arrested for involvement in cross-border arms smuggling were yesterday charged with weapons trafficking, the prosecutor handling the case said.

Banteay Meanchey Provincial Court Deputy Prosecutor Sok Keobandith said the trio, arrested on Friday, were charged under Article 488 of the Cambodian Criminal Code, which covers the production or trafficking of weapons, explosives and ammunition and carries a possible prison term of between five and 10 years.

“We have charged three people . . . under Article 488 of the penal code this morning and handed the case to the investigating judge,” Keobandith said yesterday.

Banteay Meanchey Deputy Provincial Police Chief Sith Los said officers continued to search for four more suspects in case. The three people charged have been named by police as Ub Vireak, farmer Chim Lin and labourer Yim Savy.

However Vireak has been identified as Ap Leng Cheu by the head of the Cambodian Mine Action Clearance Centre, where the 48-year-old works to clear battlefield ordinance left over from the Kingdom’s decades of war.

Los has said Vireak obtained the weaponry in the course of his duties with CMAC, and police have alleged Lin and Savy helped send it to Thailand through Banteay Meanchey’s Malai district.

The arms – three mortar tubes and rounds – were discovered by Thai authorities upon arresting five men in Thailand’s Sa Kaeo province a week ago. They were allegedly ordered by another suspect living near Thailand’s border with Myanmar who was arrested on Friday.

Vireak, the CMAC staffer, was stationed in Kampong Cham but arrested at his Battambang town home, a week after taking leave from his CMAC duties on July 15.

Yesterday the gate to his O’Char commune property, surrounded by a high metal fence, was locked, though the house’s door remained open and the lights on.

But neighbour Ros Chansok, 54, said after his arrest on Friday by about six policemen that Vireak’s wife had also left and not returned, asking her family to feed the couple’s two dogs.

She said she only knew her neighbour as “Mr CMAC”, and was “shocked” at his arrest.

“He was friendly. He would come and go to work and always lock the gate,” Chansok said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Phnom Penh curfew starts today

    A two-week curfew from 8pm to 5am starts today in Phnom Penh, a day after a sub-decree detailing administrative measures to contain Covid-19 was issued by Prime Minister Hun Sen. “Travelling in Phnom Penh is temporally banned between 8pm and 5am,” said Phnom Penh governor

  • Covid in Kingdom hits ‘critical point’

    The Covid-19 situation in Cambodia has reached a critical point, the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned, as cases surge with two more deaths and 265 infections reported over the weekend. On March 28 alone, the Ministry of Health recorded 86 Covid-19 cases linked to the February 20

  • Cambodia gears up for muted New Year festival

    The recent curfew and restrictions imposed in the capital and other Covid-19 hotspots were intended to break the chain of transmission, Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said as municipal and provincial authorities issued new directives banning certain activities during the upcoming Khmer New Year

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Cambodia set for large-scale vaccination campaign as Covid spreads

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has instructed all provincial authorities to get ready for a large-scale vaccination campaign, with at least one million doses to be administered per month. “We will roll out at least one million doses. The vaccines we have purchased and received as

  • Time to Rise by rapper, chapei legend is viral hit with ancient-modern mix

    Kong Nay is known internationally as the master of the chapei dang veng, a traditional Cambodian instrument resembling a long-necked lute or guitar with two nylon strings that he was already playing professionally by the age of 15. Nay is sometimes referred to as the Cambodian