Three Taiwanese men were charged with drug trafficking at Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Monday following their arrests for attempting to smuggle 6.5 kg of heroin out of the country over the weekend, officials and a lawyer said.
Police at Phnom Penh International Airport on Saturday arrested Huang Sang Hou, 90, allegedly in possession of 1.9 kg of heroin. On Friday they arrested Chen Hsin Hung, 57, allegedly in possession of 4.75 kg of heroin, and his traveling companion Chou Chung Tung, 30, who was not found with narcotics, said Moek Dara, head of the Interior Ministry’s anti-drug department.
“Chou Chung Tung was a companion. He wasn’t carrying any heroin on his body,” Moek Dara said.
“Whether the investigating judge finds that he was involved with [the others] is up to the investigating judge,” he said.
The three suspects were detained at Prey Sar prison, according to Long Vicheat, deputy chief of the ministry’s anti-drug department.
Graham Shaw, a technical officer on drug use for the World Health Organization, said Cambodia could be one of several routes used to ship heroin to Taiwan from eastern Burma.
The fact that the consequences for drug trafficking in Cambodia are less grave than in neighboring countries could make the country attractive to traffickers, Shaw said.
“I have been hearing from colleagues who work in the region who’ve noticed quite a rapid increase in [drugs entering] Taipei and possibly of injected drugs linked with heroin,” he said.
Also on Monday, a 54-year-old woman was charged by Kompong Thom provincial court with supplying heroin, said Long Sokun, deputy provincial police chief.
Te Huy Sarn was arrested on Saturday at her home in Stung Sen district, where she had allegedly hidden 330 grams of heroin, Long Sokun said.
(Additional reporting by Douglas Gillison)