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Four held, over 100kg of drugs seized in capital

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Over 100kg of drugs were seized during an operation last week in Phnom Penh. Police

Four held, over 100kg of drugs seized in capital

During an operation last week in Phnom Penh, the Anti-Drug Department arrested four Chinese nationals and seized more than 100kg of drugs.

The operation was the latest in a string of large drug busts carried out by the police in the capital.

The suspects were identified as Taiwan nationals Lee Shaofeng, 48; He Yi Ri, 56; Zhang Jun, 46, and Cai Tao, 45.

During the operation, the police discovered more than 7kg of addictive substances, more than 5kg of ketamine, more than 2kg of methamphetamine, 0.31g of heroin and 25.75g of ecstasy. Other chemical substances totalled 109kg.

National Police deputy chief and deputy secretary-general of the National Authority for Combating Drugs (NACD) Mok Chito said on Monday that the police are continuing to investigate those involved. Some of them had long come to Cambodia to work in companies.

“Pure drugs weighed more than 7kg. More than 100kg of blended ingredients were found. This case is major,” he said.

Chito said the suspects had rented places to produce the drugs two or three months earlier, but they had changed from one place to another.

He said the police first arrested suspects near the Australian Embassy in Phnom Penh and seized 5kg of drugs.

Later, they raided a room at Sophea Apartments and seized another 2kg of drugs and other drug-producing equipment and ingredients. The police have yet to send the suspects to court as they are still being questioned. The search is also on for several others involved in the cases.

Chito said earlier this month that the police have recently investigated a series of major drug cases and that in the last one, the suspects had tried to traffic the drugs after the Covid-19 situation seemed to have quietened.

“Our country is very lucky that we crack down on [the drugs] in time. The modus operandi of these people is to produce, process and send the drugs out,” he said.

In a separate case, the Anti-Drug Department on Thursday detained a suspect named Chhuon Bunkong, 29, near Daeum Kor Market in Tuol Kork district, Phnom Penh, and discovered methamphetamine weighing over 1kg.

Police last Wednesday arrested one of their own, the anti-drug trafficking office chief Chhun Somethea and his companion Ken Chanry, and seized 2kg of methamphetamine. The suspects were sent to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court.

Minister of Interior Sar Kheng previously announced a $10,000 reward to police who broke up major drug dealings of 1kg and above.

(NACD) secretary-general Meas Virith said on Monday that the reward was still offered.

Chito said in March that the government had offered more than 13 billion riel ($3.15 million) in 2018-2019 to units and officials who broke cases involving 100g of drugs and over.

The Anti-Drug Department said from January 1 to June 7, the police had been involved in a total of 4,709 cases, arresting 9,294 people, of whom 138 are foreigners of seven nationalities.

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