Kith Theang, who is being detained at the capital’s Police Judiciare prison after nearly 50kg of drugs were found at the Rock Entertainment Centre he owns, was sent to the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital on Monday night after suffering a bout of bronchitis.
Nouth Savna, the spokesman for the Ministry of Interior’s General Department of Prisons, told The Post on Tuesday that Theang was sent by prison officers to the hospital at midnight on Monday because he was having difficulty breathing.
He said on arrival, doctors immediately confirmed that Theang had bronchitis which required him to take medicine regularly.
Doctors are still monitoring his condition, Savna said, and he did not know how long it will take for Theang to improve. When he does recover, he will be returned to prison.
“We sent him at midnight because something was obstructing his airways. The prison checked and sent him to the hospital and the doctors confirmed it was bronchitis,” Savna said.
He said Theang was sent to the hospital with the permission of the prosecutor but because it was an emergency the first priority was to save him.
A letter will be sent to the prosecutor for official approval, Savna said, so Theang can be kept in the hospital while doctors wait for the results of tests and can better ascertain his condition.
Phnom Penh Municipal Court spokesman Y Rin said on Tuesday that he had not received this information and referred questions to court prosecutor Ly Sophanna. At press time, Sophanna had not yet responded to The Post.
Ngee Meng, the director of the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital, also said on Tuesday that he had not heard about Theang’s admission, but that the hospital would, of course, look after him as best it could.
“I haven’t been told about it yet. But if they sent him [to the hospital], our doctors will do their best to cure him,” Meng said.
Lawyer Poeng Thida insisted on Tuesday that she was not Theang’s lawyer, as had been reported by some media outlets.
“I am not the defence lawyer for Oknha Kith Theang, and also I don’t know anything about this recent development,” Thida said.
Theang is being detained over the nearly 50kg of drugs found in a February 23 raid by authorities on the Rock Entertainment Centre.
Seventeen others have also been charged and detained in the high-profile case, while more than 300 drug users were released shortly after the bust.
On March 11, Phnom Penh Municipal Court Investigating Judge Seng Leang ordered Theang’s detention on charges of “arranging and facilitating the illegal use of addictive substances, and conspiracy” under Articles 42 and 44 of the Law on the Control of Drugs and Article 29 of the Criminal Code.
The PJ prison is housed in two buildings in Phnom Penh Municipal Police headquarters in the capital’s Russey Keo district. Imprisoned within the facility are drug dealers, tycoons and their scions – widely known to be prisoners with connections and wealth – who have fallen foul of the law.
Article 44 of the Law on the Control of Drugs states that “facilitating the illegal use of addictive substances, the act of renting out or providing a place or other acts that facilitate the use of illegal additive substances listed must be punished by one to five years in prison, with an additional fine of between two million and 10 million riel ($500-2,500)”.