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Three arrested over ice, thousands in fake cash

Three arrested over ice, thousands in fake cash

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.

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