A Chinese man was killed in a joint anti-drug operation in Preah Sihanouk province’s Kampong Seila district while two of his Chinese accomplices were later arrested resulting in the seizure of nearly 1.5 tonnes of ketamine.
Deputy National Police chief Mak Chito told The Post on December 13 that the bust took place on the night of December 12 in an operation carried out by joint forces from the capital and Kampong Speu, Preah Sihanouk and Koh Kong provinces.
Chito said that during the raid, one of the suspects fired his gun at the police, prompting them to return fire, killing him instantly. He identified the deceased suspect as Ly Tung Han, 32, and his accomplice who was driving their vehicle and was arrested at the scene as Ly Po Han, 47.
The arrest of the driver then led the police to a plot of land in Sangke Satoap commune of Kampong Speu province’s Oral district later that day where they caught the alleged ringleader identified as Ye Yean Sow, 50.
“Currently, suspects Ye Yean Sow and Ly Po Han are in custody along with the seizure of 1,480kg of ketamine and another 70 tonnes of suspected narcotics or related chemicals as well as a K54 pistol and two cars,” Chito said.
Some local media outlets reported that the drug production took place at the facilities of a mango-processing company called RICHFARMASIA Co Ltd, which they claim is located in Dambong Vinh village of Oral district’s Sangke Satoab commune.
However, local police officers who asked not to be named said the drug manufacturing site was not at the actual company itself, but located just behind it.
Kampong Speu provincial governor Vei Samang told The Post that the preliminary stages of the investigation indicate that the drug manufacturing activity is not in any way linked to RICHFARM ASIA Co Ltd, but the case is under investigation and no final report has been issued yet.
Chito said the anti-drug operation indicates that Cambodia is trying its best to combat and prevent drug crimes and is absolutely against any attempt to turn the country into a regional hub for the manufacture and export of illegal drugs to the international market.
“Cambodia is not a big drug-producing country because we have repeatedly cracked down on these different networks of international drug traffickers many times and we will continue to do so whenever they try to set up operations here,” Chito said.
Ketamine is a common drug of abuse worldwide that has been rising in popularity across Southeast Asia. It is technically classified as a disassociative anesthetic and its most common legal purpose is for veterinary surgeries on animals.