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Defendants tell court ringleader was a cop

Phnom Penh police officers detain two suspects following a shootout that left one officer dead in April. Photo supplied
Phnom Penh police officers detain two suspects following a shootout that left one officer dead in April. Photo supplied

Defendants tell court ringleader was a cop

Relatives of a drug kingpin killed during a shootout with military police in April testified in court yesterday that the drug dealer was actually a police officer.

During the military police raid at a house-front roast duck business in Tuol Kork, one police officer was killed, three others were injured; alleged gang leader Lim Kim Teng was also killed. Five other people were arrested at the scene.

On the first day of their trial yesterday, judge Ros Piseth questioned three of the accused – Ly Vireak, 37, Ly Kokhuy, 64, and Ti Ieng, 45 – charged with drug trafficking, being members of a criminal gang and illegal weapons possession. Both Kokhuy and Ieng, the uncle and brother-in-law of Kim Teng, respectively, said Kim Teng was a police officer.

“He was a policeman at the Ministry of Interior,” Ieng said during testimony.

Indeed, during the initial operation, police reported confiscating two vehicles – one of them an Audi with police plates. In court yesterday, the judge mentioned two cars were confiscated, but said they were a Lexus and a Highlander.

Officials at the Ministry of Interior could not be reached for clarification about the vehicles, or whether Kim Teng was indeed a police officer.

Vireak, the other man questioned, admitted to working with Kim Teng to distribute drugs, and said he had led police to site of the raid.

Kokhuy and Ieng, however, both denied all charges, saying they were just cooks at the duck restaurant, which police maintained was just a front, with the ducks themselves used as delivery parcels for contraband.

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