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Taiwanese men get 25 years

Taiwanese men get 25 years

Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday sentenced two Taiwanese nationals to 25 years in prison after finding them guilty of trying to smuggle half a kilogramme of heroin out of the country.
In reading out the verdict, Judge Duch Kimsorn also ordered the pair to pay a fine of 50 million riels (about US$12,500) to the court.
Lui Kou Wen, 41, and Yang Chun, 24, were arrested in August 2008 at Phnom Penh International Airport, after they were found in possession of nearly 500 grammes of heroin between them, which was strapped to their thighs.
In a hearing at the court on November 4, the pair confessed that they received the heroin from a Chinese man whose name they said they could not remember clearly, who promised to give them 100,000 Taiwanese dollars (US$3,293) once the drugs reached Taiwan.
They said they only got involved in the drug deal after they had gambled away all their money at the city’s Nagaworld casino.
Dun Vibol, a court-appointed lawyer representing the pair, described yesterday’s verdict as “unjust and unacceptable”.
Dun Vibol requested that the court slash the sentence, since the two men had only become involved with heroin trafficking because they had lost all their money at the casino.
“We were not satisfied with the conviction, which is unacceptable,” he said, adding that his clients had asked him to lodge an appeal against the verdict.
He added that the men had been caught with only around 200 grams of heroin each, and should have been charged separately for trafficking this lower amount.
“The court should have not merged their cases into one – it is not just,” he said.
“They confessed to the crime in good cooperation with court officials, and they would be serving just 20 years in prison if their cases were separated.”

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