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Karaoke owner jailed over drugs

Karaoke owner jailed over drugs

PHNOM Penh Municipal Court sentenced a woman to 18 months in prison yesterday after convicting her of deliberately facilitating drug use at a karaoke bar she managed.

Pen Sothy, 44, was arrested by police on March 4 at her Daun Penh district home, which doubled as a karaoke parlour. During the raid, police found three boys using drugs, and confiscated 0.04 grams of methamphetamine, two bottles of water and a piece of aluminum foil.

During a court hearing yesterday, Pen Sothy denied facilitating drug use, saying she did not know what the boys had taken with them into the karaoke room.

“I rarely go to the karaoke rooms. I have a maid who goes there to clean the room after the guests leave,” she told the court.

She added that she only suspected drug use after police discovered the foil and water bottles.

But under questioning from presiding judge Sos Samarth, who said the strong odor of the drugs should have been easily detected, Pen Sothy admitted to ignoring reports from her maid that drugs were being used.

“I was afraid that the boys would trouble me if I told this story to the police,” she said.

The judge said her inaction made her deserving of punishment. “That you knew and did not report the problem is against the law,” he said.

Heang Hong, Pen Sothy’s defence lawyer, said his client’s actions did not warrant a conviction, and that the three drug users testified that she was not in the karaoke room and did not know they were using drugs on that day.

He added that, in each of her karaoke rooms, there was also a notification stuck on the wall that read, “No Drugs and No Having Sex.”

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