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Paratrooper in court on drug charges

Paratrooper in court on drug charges

A member of the 911 military paratroopers, the same elite unit used in a violent crackdown in January on protesters at the Yakjin garment company, was tried on drug charges yesterday by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court.

Presiding Judge Sin Visal said Um Chanthou, 28, was charged with “keeping, transporting and drug trafficking” under the Anti-Drug Law.

According to Por Sen Chey district police chief Yim Sarann, the arrest was made in October, when Chanthou was stopped at a police road checkpoint and found to have three packages of crystal methamphetamine beneath the cover of his mobile phone.

Judge Visal said Chanthou ‘‘was a special commando officer [with] the duty to combat drug trafficking, but he used the drugs and smuggled them instead”. Um Chanthou denied the trafficking allegations.

“I have bought it for my own use only,” he said. “It was to prevent from sleeping … because I worked at night.”

A verdict is due on February 28.

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