A 22-year-old Thai woman was arrested at Phnom Penh International Airport on Wednesday with 2.5 kg of cocaine mixed among chocolate treats in Lindt-branded containers, police said on Thursday.
Kaewkanlaya Amphawan was arrested at about 3:30 p.m. after disembarking a flight from Qatar with no luggage besides two plastic bags holding the containers of confectionary and stimulant, said Leang Hay, the chief of customs control at the airport.
“Ms. Amphawan was carrying plastic bags with chocolates and sugar, making our customs officials ask to check her belongings, and they found many types of chocolates and sugar, so we asked her into the customs office to test them,” Mr. Hay explained.
“The two plastic bags she was carrying were very simple with many kinds of chocolate; she was not hiding it at all,” Mr. Hay added. “We found out those chocolates were cocaine and arrested her on Wednesday last night and confiscated 2,513 grams of cocaine.”
He said the authorities’ suspicions had also been raised because the woman was Thai and yet had traveled from Bahrain to Qatar and onward to Cambodia carrying only two bags of sweets.
Ms. Amphawan was transferred to the custody of anti-drug trafficking police, who are now seeking the ringleaders of the operation, said Khieu Samon, chief of the Interior Ministry’s anti-drug trafficking department.
Brigadier General Samon expressed regret that the ringleaders had escaped, blaming stories in the media about the arrest on Wednesday for tipping off Ms. Amphawan’s bosses in Phnom Penh.
“We are so sorry that we could not arrest her ringleaders, who are at large in the city of Phnom Penh, and our anti-drug trafficking police have been working hard since yesterday to find her partners,” he said.
“You journalists broke out your news, making the drug ringleaders know [about the arrest] and move out, making it hard for our anti-drug police to do their task.”