Touch Muyser (right), former chief of the Phnom Penh municipal anti-drug office, leaves Phnom Penh Municipal Court in June. Photo by: Pha Lina
THE former chief of Phnom Penh’s municipal anti-drug police was sentenced to 12 years in jail at the capital’s Municipal Court yesterday for possessing stockpiles of illegal drugs and accepting a US$20,000 bribe.
Lieutenant-Colonel Touch Muyser, 43, was arrested and charged with the offences in October 2009 after a complaint was filed by the National Authority for Combating Drugs.
Presiding Municipal Court judge Suos Sam Ath said yesterday that Touch Muyser had kept 8,000 amphetamine pills, which were confiscated during a drug trafficking crackdown in 2005, and had received a bribe of roughly $20,000 for the release of two drug traffickers.
“The court sentenced Touch Muyser to 12 years in jail and fined him 40 million riel (US$9,747) for keeping illegal drugs and receiving bribes from drug traffickers,” he said.
Suos Sam Ath added that 53-year-old Lam Sokha, a businesswoman, and 28-year-old Him Vicheth were also convicted for bribing the top drugs cop after they were arrested during the crackdown in May 2005.
“Lam Sokha and Him Vicheth gave a bribe to Touch Muyser for their release [from jail]. They are sentenced to two years and six months in jail for bribery,” he said, adding that the two were arrested again in February this year.
Touch Muyser was also accused of releasing numerous other drug trafficking suspects in exchange for cash bribes up until his arrest in 2009, but previously denied all charges in court.
Touch Muyser, Lam Sokha and Him Vicheth did not comment outside court yesterday.
However, Touch Muyser’s lawyer Kea Chhay said yesterday that the verdict was unjust.
“There was no proof and evidence that he had illegally kept the drugs or received bribes from Lam Sokha as accused. He is a victim of the accusation,” he said. “I will go to meet him and his family to discuss his appeal.”