Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Military officer in drugs case

Military officer in drugs case

Military officer in drugs case

110712_5
Ly Vanlanh (left), 46, and Hey Chanphearith (right), 34, exit Phnom Penh Municipal Court following a hearing yesterday.

Three alleged drug smugglers, including a member of the Prime Minister’s Bodyguard Unit, pleaded their innocence at court yesterday after being accused of importing 1.5 kilograms of pseudoephedrine – a drug used in the production of methamphetamine.

Bodyguard Unit member Lieutenant Colonel Hay Chanphearith was arrested on December 17 last year while retrieving a FedEx envelope at the company’s depot in Phnom Penh’s Chamkarmon district, presiding Judge Ker Sakhorn told Phnom Penh Municipal court.

“Hay Chanphearith was arrested when he was getting a package of drugs from the [FedEx] company and entered his luxury car,” he said, adding the drugs had been sent from India.

His arrest, Ker Sakhorn said, lead police to intercept Vietnamese-Canadian Ly Vanlanh and his driver, Vietnamese national Mai Chunghiv, at a petrol station, where they had allegedly arranged to pick up the drugs from Hay Chanphearith.

A handgun, 16 bullets, four mobile phones, a Lexus 4-WD and a three-kilogramme envelope, about half of which was pseudoephedrine disguised within a masking powder, were seized, he added.

Chheang Chamnan, chief of the anti-drugs office at the Ministry of Interior, said Cambodian police had been tipped off by the United States drug enforcement agency in Bangkok about the alleged drug deal.
All three men now face charges of international drug trafficking yesterday. Hay Chanphearith was also charged with illegal possession of a weapon.

Hay Chanphearith acknowledged yesterday that he had gone to retrieve the FedEx envelope after receiving a phone call from Ly Vanlanh but said he had no idea drugs were hidden inside it.  
“I am not a drug trafficker. I would like to ask the court to drop charges against me and release me,” he said.

Ly Vanlanh denied asking the lieutenant colonel to retrieve the envelope yesterday. Mai Chunghiv also denied the charges against him.

Ek Sareth, chief of the distribution at FedEx, said yesterday that Hay Chanphearith had retrieved the envelope which was labelled “GIFT” and addressed to a different person.

A verdict will be announced on July 20, Ker Sakhorn said. Officials from the Canadian and Vietnamese embassies and the US DEA declined to comment yesterday.

MOST VIEWED

  • Prince injured, wife dies after accident

    THE wife of former First Prime Minister Prince Norodom Ranariddh, Ouk Phalla, 39, died while the prince was “severely” injured following a road accident in Preah Sihanouk province’s Prey Nub district on Sunday morning, officials said. Rananriddh, who is also the president of the Funcinpec

  • Guards protest dismissals, reject claims of sharing naked photos of child

    Some 20 former security guards at the US Embassy in Phnom Penh protested on Tuesday against their dismissal. They accused their employers of falsely claiming they had viewed and shared child pornography from their mobile phones as grounds for their termination. In total, 32 personnel were dismissed

  • We’re going to Wisney World!

    More than 6,000 mostly Chinese attendees witnessed the inauguration ceremony of a $1 billion Sihanoukville resort project called Wisney World in the capital on Wednesday. The event on Koh Pich, attended by several senior Cambodian government officials, is a joint venture between China’s AMC International and

  • Funcinpec urges probe into deadly Preah Sihanouk accident

    THE Funcinpec party has urged the government, especially the Ministry of Interior, to investigate the traffic accident in Preah Sihanouk province which left Prince Norodom Ranariddh badly injured and his wife Ouk Phalla dead. Funcinpec Vice President You Hokry told reporters at Botum Votey pagoda,