Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Cambodian-Australian man convinced of drug trafficking

PHNOM PENH, July 20 (Xinhuanet) -- Phnom Penh municipal court convicted a Cambodian-Australian man of cross-border drug trafficking, sentencing him to 18 years in prison and a 10,000 US dollars fine, The Cambodian Press Review reported Wednesday.

Yen Karat, 23, was ruled on Tuesday guilty of trafficking two kilograms of heroin in late January. His uncle, Ek Sam Oeun, was also sentenced to 10 years in prison for transporting drugs.

Ek Sam Oeun, a 48-year-old farmer in Kandal province, admitted he stored machines for Yen Karat, but said he did not know they were used to package heroin. He said he threw the equipment in his toilet after receiving orders from Yen Karat.

The Municipal Court also sentenced in absentia two Australian citizens to 18 and 19 years in prison plus a 10,00 dollars fine respectively, Khmer newspaper Rasmei Kampuchea said.

Trafficking in drugs and other illicit items become a chronic problem in Cambodia in recent years despite that the government has strengthened the law enforcement and border security. Enditem

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