Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Nearly 150,000 meth pills discovered in Preah Vihear traffic stop

Nearly 150,000 meth pills discovered in Preah Vihear traffic stop

A man sits behind a table of drugs at a Preah Vihear police station on Saturday after he was arrested at a police checkpoint. Photo supplied
A man sits behind a table of drugs at a Preah Vihear police station on Saturday after he was arrested at a police checkpoint. Photo supplied

Nearly 150,000 meth pills discovered in Preah Vihear traffic stop

Large quantities of methamphetamine destined for Thailand were seized by police on Saturday during a routine traffic stop, one of two large busts over the weekend.

In Preah Vihear, police found an estimated 144,000 meth pills in the car of Kong Rich, 32, at a traffic checkpoint on Saturday night in Tbeng Meanchey district’s Mohaphal village, according to provincial deputy police chief Chhory Borin.

“Honestly, it was a fluke. We station three kinds of police at each checkpoint: explosives police, traffic police and anti-drug police,” Borin said. “We were suspicious because his eyes were red and he was behaving suspiciously. We called him out of the car for a urine test. It came up positive and he confessed that he had been using drugs. Then we checked his car, where we found piles of drugs.”

During further questioning, Rich confessed that this was the third time he had transported drugs from Stung Treng province to the Thai border, for which he claimed a Chinese national paid him 500,000 Thai Baht ($14,149) each time, according to deputy police chief Borin.

“The ringleader gave them to him and he transported them through the provinces until he reached Battambang, where he handed them over to a Thai national,” Borin said, adding that Rich claims to have acted alone. “We don’t have information about the Chinese and Thai ringleaders.”

An anti-drug police officer in Stung Treng said his team was aware of the existence of the Chinese trafficker but did not know his identity as he is based in Laos. He said that the large number of illegal crossings combined with the lackadaisical attitude of border guards makes it hard to stem the flow of drugs from Laos.

“It’s like they’re not willing or lack a conscience,” he said. “It makes things complicated.”

A UN Office on Drugs and Crime report issued earlier this year designated Cambodia a regional drug-trafficking hub, citing porous borders and limited resources for policing.

Meanwhile, local media reported that two Cambodians were arrested by Vietnamese officials the same day transporting a kilogram of unspecified narcotics across the border in Ratanakkiri.

The pair were identified as Chab Samean, allegedly a border police officer, and An Bunthy, a soldier with Border Regiment 102.

Vann Sangvath, Ratanakkiri deputy anti-drug chief, confirmed that two Cambodians had been arrested by Vietnamese authorities but was awaiting confirmation that they were border officials.

Colonel Ouk Sothy of Border Regiment 102 confirmed Bunthy was under his command, adding that he had a history of drug use.


  • Phnom Penh placed in two-week lockdown

    The government has decided to place Phnom Penh in lockdown for two weeks, effective April 14 midnight through April 28, as Cambodia continues to grapple with the ongoing community outbreak of Covid-19, which has seen no sign of subsiding. According to a directive signed by Prime Minister

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Culture ministry: Take Tuol Sleng photos down, or else

    The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts has told Irish photographer Matt Loughrey to take down the photos of Khmer Rouge victims at Tuol Sleng Genocidal Museum which he allegedly colourised and altered to show them smiling. The ministry said Loughrey's work is unacceptable, affecting

  • Cambodia gears up for muted New Year festival

    The recent curfew and restrictions imposed in the capital and other Covid-19 hotspots were intended to break the chain of transmission, Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said as municipal and provincial authorities issued new directives banning certain activities during the upcoming Khmer New Year

  • Hun Sen: Stay where you are, or else

    Prime Minister Hun Sen warned that the two-week lockdown of Phnom Penh and adjacent Kandal provincial town Takmao could be extended if people are not cooperative by staying home. “Now let me make this clear: stay in your home, village, and district and remain where