Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - More women arrested as drugs pour into Cambodia

More women arrested as drugs pour into Cambodia

More women arrested as drugs pour into Cambodia


A Cambodian airport security officer checks a member of staff at Siem Reap International Airport. Photograph: Tang Chhin Sothy/ AFP

Drugs continued pouring into Cambodia late Wednesday as police seized more than five kilograms of methamphetamines at the Phnom Penh and Siem Reap international airports.

More than 40 kilograms of cocaine and methamphetamines have been intercepted at the Kingdom’s two international airports since August 7.

Major-General Khieu Saman, director of the anti-drug department, said yesterday police had arrested 19-year-old Vietnamese woman Phan Thi Thanh Hang at Phnom Penh International Airport about 5:30pm on Wednesday after she allegedly smuggled almost two kilograms of methamphetamines in luggage from Kenya, via Singapore’s Changi Airport.

“[She] was arrested after collecting her luggage, which contained the drugs, and trying to exit the airport,” Saman said, adding that she had arrived on a separate flight earlier in the day.

Based on information Thanh Hang gave them, police swooped on another passenger, 29-year-old Thai woman Kotatan Miss Napaphon, at Siem Reap International Airport about 30 minutes later, seizing another 3.4 kilograms of methamphetamines.

Nuon Phanny, chief of the Siem Reap provincial police’s anti-drug department, said Napaphon had also travelled from Kenya via Singapore.

“She had hidden many boxes of methamphetamines inside her luggage,” he said.

Both women were being questioned yesterday and would be sent to court to face drug-trafficking charges today.

The arrests came after police discovered a record $1.4 million worth of cocaine in the bags of two women at the Phnom Penh International Airport on Monday and Tuesday.

Rodsiri Rungeiwa, 24, and Cha Ereedagorn, 35, have each been accused of trafficking more than 14 kilograms in their baggage from Brazil, via Singapore.

Thai woman Eigean Sod Utsanee, 20, was detained at the same airport on Monday after police allegedly found almost five kilograms of methamphetamines, believed to be from Ghana, in her luggage.

Saman told the Post those women were sent to court yesterday.

“Until now, they are still being questioned,” he said. “We do not know whether the court will officially charge them today or not,” he said.

Two more Thai women – Varangkran A Phomdee, 29, and her alleged accomplice, Tangboo Ketkard, 31 – were arrested last Tuesday, accused of trafficking more than three kilograms of cocaine from Ecuador, also via Singapore. They were charged and faced court on Saturday.

Police have said they believe the majority of the drugs seized were destined for Thailand, and officers were investigating ways of smashing regional drug rings.

Police officials in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap yesterday refused to comment on airport security.

An official from the airport branch of the Singapore Police Force said he could not provide information about airport security without having received a prior written request.

To contact the reporter on this story: Buth Reaksmey Kongkea at [email protected]
With assistance from Shane Worrell


  • US to ramp up sanctions after ‘flawed’ national polls

    At a press conference on Wednesday, the US State Department announced that it would expand visa sanctions on the Cambodian officials and individuals it deems responsible for “undermining democracy” in Cambodia. At the briefing, spokesperson Heather Nauert reiterated that the department regarded the July 29 elections

  • US names new ambassador to Cambodia

    US President Donald Trump on Friday appointed W Patrick Murphy as the new US Ambassador to Cambodia, replacing incumbent William A Heidt. A press release posted on the White House’s website said nominee W Patrick Murphy is currently acting principal deputy assistant secretary at

  • Final poll results confirm first single-party Assembly

    IN an unprecedented situation in Cambodian politics, the official results of the July 29 national elections have declared that the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) will take all 125 seats in the National Assembly on the back of it receiving 76 per cent of the votes. The National

  • Kingdom is at a crossroads between East, West after poll

    It was dubbed a success by caretaker prime minister Hun Sen after the electoral victory of his Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), which is poised to take all seats in the National Assembly. But the July 29 national election has not been positively looked at by