PHNOM Penh Municipal Court yesterday sentenced two Cambodian men to 18 years in prison after finding them guilty of trafficking in illegal drugs, court officials said.
Vi Co, 54, from Stung Treng province, was arrested on November 20 last year at Wat Ounalom in Daun Penh district, where he had fled in an attempting to dispose of 286 grams of methamphetamine, which police seized as evidence.
Presiding Judge Kor Vandy said the prosecution had provided enough evidence “to support the charges and refute the accused’s denial that he only acted as a middleman”.
The judge handed down an identical sentence to Vi Co’s accomplice, 33-year-old Lim Chan Samuth (aka Thy), who was convicted in absentia after evading capture by the police. Judge Kor Vandy ordered the two men to pay a fine of 30 million riels (US$7,142) each because of the purity of the drugs, which he said posed a significant danger to society.
Vi Co’s defence lawyer, Kim Socheat, said after yesterday’s hearing that he was “not satisfied” with the sentence, and that it did not match the crime committed and ignored his client’s cooperation with the court. “He was guilty only as a middleman who needed to make profit to feed his poor family,” he said. Kim Socheat said he would file an appeal against the verdict.