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

  • US imposes sanctions on Oknha Pheap and Kun Kim

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation expressed strong dismay on Monday over the designation of Cambodian tycoon Oknha Try Pheap and General Kun Kim under the US’ Global Magnitsky Act. “It is very disturbing when the public figures of a country become the

  • Mother, daughter killed in hotel fire

    The bodies of a mother and daughter were found locked in an embrace after they were killed in a hotel fire in Phnom Penh at around 3:30am on Wednesday at the Phkar Chhouk Tep 2 Hotel and Restaurant in Phsar Doeum Kor commune, in the capital’

  • EBA withdrawal a destruction of EU achievements, PM says

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said the EU’s possible suspension of its Everything But Arms (EBA) agreement amounted to a destruction of its achievements in the Kingdom and the demise of the opposition group. Hun Sen made the remarks while addressing more than 6,700 students during

  • Rights Day forum denied in Sihanoukville

    The Preah Sihanouk provincial administration last Saturday denied the request of land communities for a public location in the province to celebrate International Human Rights Day 2019 as the administration had already held forums to discuss land issues. However, the land community representatives said they would

  • US told to refrain from interfering in Sokha case

    Senior Cambodian officials said on Thursday that the US can monitor Kem Sokha’s trial as it wishes but would not be allowed to interfere in court procedures. The point was made in response to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s comments on Wednesday

  • Europe expected to consider EBA efforts, impact

    The government said it expects the European Commission to consider its efforts to comply with the “Everything But Arms” (EBA) regulations and the impact on one million workers should access to the agreement be suspended in February. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation