Three people are in pretrial detention in Phnom Penh’s Prey Sar prison accused of drug trafficking and circulating counterfeit currency, after a bust on Thursday turned up 1 kilogram of methamphetamine and $20,000 in bogus bills.
The trio – identified as Chan Sareth, 50, Srey Engly, 51, and Heng Sokha, 51 – were sent to the prison after appearing at Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Saturday.
“They were charged with two charges: drug trafficking under Article 40 of Anti-Drug Law and circulating fake foreign currency under article 647 of the Penal Code,” said court clerk Mak Sokly.
According to Lieutenant Colonel Meak Bunthol of the Interior Ministry’s Anti-Drug Department, the three were arrested on May 14 after a night-time raid on their rental home in Chroy Changvar district’s Chroy Changvar commune. Bunthol said the fake currency came in $50 and $20 notes.
Cambodia’s dollarised economy makes it fertile ground for counterfeiters, with two men from Sierra Leone and Liberia busted in Sihanoukville in January over a $1.8 million counterfeiting operation.
In recent years, a number of Thai nationals have been busted attempting to cross into Cambodia with fraudulent cash. In September 2014, three men were caught at the Thailand-Cambodia border carrying over $7 million in false US currency, while three years earlier two men were captured attempting to enter with more than $430,000 in fake money.