Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Supreme Court hears 55kg drug bust appeal

Supreme Court hears 55kg drug bust appeal

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Two Chinese nationals were each handed life sentences in 2016 in relations to a drug case involving nearly 55kg of heroin and methamphetamine. Hong Menea

Supreme Court hears 55kg drug bust appeal

The Supreme Court on March 23 heard the appeal of two Chinese nationals and three Cambodians who were each handed life sentences in 2016 in relations to a drug case involving nearly 55kg of heroin and methamphetamine.

Presiding Judge Soeng Panhavuth, who transferred his authority to another judge, read out the Phnom Penh Municipal Court verdict in the presence of four of the five accused. In September 2016, the municipal court found them guilty and sentenced each of them to life imprisonment. In addition, they were each fined 60 million riel ($15,000).

Unsatisfied with the verdict, the five filed their grievance to the Phnom Penh Court of Appeal – which upheld the lower court’s decision in September 2021.

Court records showed that on June 16, 2015, police from the Ministry of Interior’s Anti-Drug Department raided a rented apartment in Russey Keo commune of Phnom Penh’s Russey Keo district and a condominium in Chamkarmon district’s Tuol Tom Poung I commune. They arrested four people during the raids. One more person was arrested in Stung Treng province in connection with the raids.

The records identified the two Chinese men as Ly Yon, 42, and Toeng Yanping, 54. The three Cambodians are Li Xuer, 43, Phal Rany, 28, and 55-year-old Dam Nha, who was arrested in Stung Treng.

At the courtroom on March 23, Xuer and Yanping’s defence lawyer Lor Kimgech argued that on the day of the raid, police had searched Unit 9 while his clients rented Unit 3 and that the officers had not seen any drugs in the unit. Yanping was immediately remanded into custody, he said.

“The police claimed that while in prison, my client Yanping was recorded carrying out drug deals on the phone. The police could not provide audio evidence of these ‘recorded’ calls at the trial. Therefore, I believe these convictions were unjust, and I request that the trial be returned to the Court of Appeal, who may order a retrial,” he said.

Lawyer Sin Sovan, acting for Yon and Nha, said the municipal court heard the case of Nha in absentia. Another client, Yon, had returned from China just four days before he was arrested.

“Please transfer the case for a re-trial,” Sovan urged.

Supreme Court Prosecutor Pen Sarath said at the hearing that after studying the case and examining the facts, he believed the lower court had convicted the five people according to the law. Therefore, he agreed with the verdict of the Phnom Penh Court of Appeal.

A verdict is due to be delivered on March 30.


  • Research key to Kanitha’s rep for expertise

    Sok Kanitha is used to weighing in on controversial issues using a confident approach that signals expertise and authority, and a recent video she made was no exception. Her “Episode 342: The History of NATO” video went live on January 16, 2023 and immediately shot to 30,000 likes and 3,500

  • Cambodia maintains 'Kun Khmer' stance despite Thailand’s boycott threat

    Cambodia has taken the position that it will use the term "Kun Khmer" to refer to the sport of kickboxing at the upcoming Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, and has removed the term Muay from all references to the sport. Despite strong reactions from the Thai

  • Knockout! Kun Khmer replaces ‘Muay’ for Phnom Penh Games

    Cambodia has decided to officially remove the word Muay from the programme of the 32nd Southeast Asian (SEA) Games 2023 in May. “Kun Khmer” will instead be used to represent the Southeast Asian sport of kickboxing, in accordance with the wishes of the Cambodian people. Vath

  • Artificial insemination takes herd from 7 to 700

    Some farms breed local cows or even import bulls from a broad for the purpose of breeding heavier livestock for meat production. One Tbong Khnum farmer has found a more efficient way. Hout Leang employs artificial insemination to fertilise local cows. Thanks to imported “straws”

  • Chinese group tours return to Cambodia starting Feb 6

    Cambodia is among 20 countries selected by Beijing for a pilot programme allowing travel agencies to provide international group tours as well as flight and hotel packages to Chinese citizens, following a three-year ban. As the days tick down until the programme kicks off on February 6,

  • Capital-Poipet express rail project making headway

    The preliminary results of a feasibility study to upgrade the Phnom Penh-Poipet railway into Cambodia’s first express railway indicate that the project would cost more than $4 billion and would take around four years to complete. The study was carried out by China Road and