Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Taxi driver caught in drug bust 'innocent'

Taxi driver caught in drug bust 'innocent'

Taxi driver caught in drug bust 'innocent'

The Cambodian taxi driver who was arrested on Wednesday after driving a Laotian man to Phnom Penh with more than three kilograms of methamphetamine tablets and crystals is innocent of any wrongdoing, anti-drug police officials said yesterday.

Yin Panharith, acting director of the Interior Ministry Anti-Drug Department’s K9 Office, said yesterday evening that interrogation of the Laotian, 49-year-old Khamphun Thomalat, revealed that taxi driver, Chea Buntong, 23, was unaware he was transporting drugs.

“Based on the answers of the Laotian suspect, he [Buntong] was not in fact involved in drug dealing. The Laotian hired him to take him to Phnom Penh for 50,000 riel [about $12.50], saying he needed to bring a statue to his boss,” Panharith said. “We are now preparing a recommendation to the court that the Cambodian driver be released along with his car.”

He added that Thomalat revealed under questioning that he had three accomplices, including his boss, who remains at large. The ringleader is believed to have travelled to Phnom Penh’s Nagaworld casino, where Panharith said undercover officers have been deployed.

“We will keep searching for these three criminals.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Stock photo agencies cash in on Khmer Rouge tragedy
    Stock-photo companies selling images from S-21 raises ethics concerns

    A woman with short-cropped hair stares directly into the camera, her head cocked slightly to the side. On her lap is a sleeping infant just barely in the frame. The woman was the wife of a Khmer Rouge officer who fell out of favour, and

  • US think tank warns of China's 'ulterior motives'

    A US think tank on Tuesday warned that spreading Chinese investment in the Indo-Pacific follows a pattern of leveraging geopolitical influence at the expense of the nations receiving investment, including Cambodia. The report looks at a sample of 15 Chinese port development projects, noting that the

  • Defence Ministry denies weapons in smuggling case came from Cambodia

    After a Thai national was arrested last week for allegedly smuggling guns from Cambodia to Thailand, Cambodia's Defence Ministry has claimed the weapons seized during the arrest are not used in Cambodia, despite the fact that both types of rifle seized are commonly found in

  • More than three tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia seized in Mozambique

    A total of 3.5 tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia was seized by authorities in Mozambique late last week, according to the NGO Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES' information was based on a report from the