Three men, including a French and a British national, were held in pre-trial detention Monday in Sihanoukville for possession of nearly 1.1 kg of marijuana, court and police officials said.
Ung Sokay, chief of Sihanoukville’s anti-narcotics police bureau, said Tuesday the 42-year-old French national, identified by police as Pierre, was arrested while buying marijuana from a 37-year-old Englishman, identified as Craig, and Cambodian national Chanda Try, 36.
Ung Sokay said Chanda Try and Craig had purchased the marijuana in neighboring Kampot province for $160 and were trying to sell their stash to the Frenchman for $300.
“They said that they would smoke [the marijuana] themselves,” Ung Sokay said by telephone, adding that the men have claimed that “they have problems with addiction.”
The three men expressed their regret to police, Ung Sokay added.
“They said that they are regretful that they committed wrongdoing, they knew it was illegal,” Ung Sokay said, adding that there had been many arrests in the municipality for marijuana use.
“People have been using [marijuana], but they do it secretly,” he added.
Investigating Judge Plang Samnang said he didn’t know the details of the case, but he had ordered the three men detained because police had caught them red-handed.
“They are detained related to marijuana trafficking and making sales commissions,” Plang Samnang said, adding that marijuana use has been illegal since 2005.
“Marijuana is also a type of addictive drug but the punishment is lighter than heroin,” he said, adding that he still considered the herb, which is a traditional ingredient in some Khmer dishes, dangerous.
Lour Ramin, secretary-general of the National Authority for Combating Drugs, said Tuesday that even though the law, in general, bans marijuana use, he could not say whether it’s illegal or not to use it as an ingredient in food.
“We have to understand that marijuana is illegal, but it is used in soup and as a tradition,” he said.