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VN man busted in ‘drug raid’ appeals prison term

VN man busted in ‘drug raid’ appeals prison term

The Appeal Court heard the case on Thursday of a Vietnamese man who filed an appeal against a 22-year jail sentence in 2012 over a conspiracy to sell a large package of methamphetamines at the Lucky Hotel in Boeng Pralit commune, Prampi Makara district.

Reading the case report, presiding judge Plang Samnang said: “On the night of December 14, 2012, the Ministry of Interior Anti-Drug Trafficking Department used an undercover agent to set up a purchase of methamphetamines from the drug ring at the Lucky hotel in Boeng Pralit commune, Prampi Makara district.

“On the date of the purchase, the authorities raided the hotel room and arrested Ngieng Yinthy, 55, with a package of methamphetamines."

“This case was heard by Phnom Penh Municipal Court on August 17, 2013, and ruled to sentence the accused to 22 years in prison for drug trafficking under new Article 33 of the Law on Drug Control and fined him 40 million riel.”

Ngieng Yinthy answered at the hearing on Thursday that he did not commit the crime and the person who did escaped, but the police arrested him in another room.

“I appealed because I did not commit it as accused. I did not see the drugs and the police questioned me when I could not understand the Khmer language. The police forced me to thumbprint. I denied answering the police and request the Appeal Court to release me,” said Yinthy.

However, Samnang said of the accused: “He confessed at the level of judicial police. That’s why the lower court charged him. It was based on the actual crackdown.”

Deputy prosecutor general at the Appeal Court Hean Rith concluded after hearing the questioning of the accused that he confessed to judicial police but denied committing the crime upon arrival to the Municipal Court and Appeal Court.

“I reviewed the [case report] and found that there is no clear evidence to place a charge against the accused, so I urge the trial council to make considerations in accordance with the law,” said Rith.

The accused’s lawyer said his client had a company in Cambodia and brought Vietnamese people to stay in the hotel on the day in question. With regard to the arrest of his client, he said there were no drugs on him and neither was the package on him.

He told the court: “According to the police report, ‘[we] did not see any specific amount of drugs,’ so I urge the court to release my client.”

After the trial, Samnang said that the verdict will be handed down on October 30.

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