The Supreme Court on Wednesday heard a case against four men who were sentenced in 2013 to 22 years behind bars on drug-trafficking charges.
Sok Pisal, 30; Hang Vuthy, 30; Chhuong Da Phong, 30; and Chhit Hong Laim, 26, received lengthy jail terms for trafficking in 532.50 grams of drugs in October 2012 in Phnom Penh.
During the trial, Pisal said after receiving an order from Vuthy to buy a half kilogram of drugs worth $20,000, he went to Stung Treng province where he bought 532.50 grams of it from a Lao woman for $15,000.
Pisal then returned to the capital to meet with Da Phong. While waiting for Vuthy to come to settle the bill near the Chroy Changvar bridge, Pisal handed packages containing the drugs to Da Phong and asked him to wait in a guesthouse, where he was later arrested.
In a sting operation on October 8, 2012, police sent Da Phong to the Phkar Chhouk Tep hotel in Phsar Deum Kor district, where they raided and caught the other suspects while they were counting money.
Police seized 532.30 grams of methamphetamine, four mobile phones and a motorbike.
On October 22, 2013, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court sentenced each suspect to 22 years in prison and ordered them to pay a fine of 50 million riel ($12,500) each. They were charged for drug-trafficking under Article 40 of the anti-drug law.
The appeal court later upheld their guilty verdicts.
At the Supreme Court trial on Wednesday, Chhit Hong Lam and Hang Vuthy pleaded guilty and asked for their prison terms to be reduced.
“We committed the crimes as accused, but the punishment is too severe. We asked the court to lower our prison terms,” said one of the accused.
Deputy prosecutor Ouk Kimseth said the lower court’s verdicts were just.
“The suspects committed the crimes. Police arrested them while they were counting money after the purchase so the appeal court’s verdicts should be upheld,” he said.
Defence lawyer Lor Kimgech said his clients had admitted their guilt and therefore should receive a lighter punishment. He said the accused protested the appeal court’s ruling only because their prison sentences are too severe.
“My clients have pleaded guilty, and so the Supreme Court should reduce their jail terms,” he said.
The final verdicts will be delivered on September 12.