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Court upholds Japanese’s 25-year sentence for drugs

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Shun-ichi Nonaka, 73, leaves the Supreme Court after an appeal hearing for his 25-year drug-trafficking sentence in June. Kim Sarom

Court upholds Japanese’s 25-year sentence for drugs

The Supreme Court on June 6 announced the verdict for a Japanese man who was sentenced in 2020 to 25 years in prison for trafficking nearly 2kg of methamphetamines.

Judge Seng Neang read out the verdict in absentia of Shun-ichi Nonaka, 73, and his defence lawyer, following a May 30 hearing.

“[We] uphold the Appeals Court’s verdict dated September 28, 2021,” Judge Neang said.

Nonaka sought leniency at his May 30 hearing, telling the judge that he had four children and wife who needed his support, in addition to elderly parents.

“I request the Supreme Court return the case to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court of Appeal for a rehearing. My son will be taking his exams in Japan and as a father I want to be able to give him emotional support and have my presence there,” he pleaded.

According to the case file, in early February 2020, Nonaka travelled from Japan to Cambodia for a business meeting with another foreigner. He then stayed at a hotel in Phnom Penh, where he met a Thai man who asked him to carry one suitcase intended for his relatives in Japan.

On February 15, 2020, Nonaka carried two suitcases to Phnom Penh International Airport with the intention of travelling to Japan. But he was flagged as suspicious by airport customs officials and police who asked to inspect his suitcases.

The officers found five bags of methamphetamine with a total weight of 1,705.85g and then sent Nonaka to the anti-drug department for questioning.

The municipal court sentenced him to 25 years in prison and imposed a fine of 40 million riel ($10,000) on September 15, 2020, on drug trafficking charges.


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