Customs police at Phnom Penh International Airport on Wednesday arrested a Thai woman with 2.6 kilograms of cocaine disguised as candy, police and airport sources said yesterday.
Police said the suspect flew into the airport on Wednesday on flight QR 970, which is from Doha, Qatar, according to multiple flight directories.
However, police said the suspect was originally coming from Bahrain, which she departed on Tuesday. Police requested media not publish the suspect’s name due to the ongoing investigation.
When her cylindrical candy boxes raised suspicions, customs officials opened them to find small bundles inside filled with a white powder, which further examination proved to be cocaine, said an airport security officer who spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorised to speak to the media.
A National Authority for Combating Drugs (NACD) official, also speaking on condition of anonymity, said the haul was believed to be worth $250,000.
“She put the cocaine in, covered by the candy plastic and put them inside the box of candy. The case now is under investigation; we cannot tell details about it,” the police source said.
The evidence was sent to anti-drug officials at the Ministry of Interior, he said, and the suspect is being questioned.
Neak Yuthea, a deputy general at the NACD, yesterday confirmed the arrest of a Thai woman by customs police but said he didn’t know the details of the case, as he was in the provinces.
Yuthea said cocaine was a rare illicit product for Cambodia because of its expense and there was not much of a market here. He believed that the alleged drug mule was in transit to another country.
“We don’t have consumers of coke in Cambodia; construction labourers could not afford it,” said Yuthea. “If there are such cases of coke use in Cambodia, it is foreigners.”
A February report by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime called Cambodia a drug transportation hub of growing importance, though mostly for meth and heroin. The UNODC was unavailable for comment.
The last time police busted someone with a comparable amount of cocaine was in April, when a Vietnamese national was caught smuggling 5kg from South America to Vietnam through Siem Reap International Airport.