Alleged Drug Trafficker Denies Any Wrongdoing

A Danish woman charged by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on April 10 with attempting to mail more than 10,000 codeine tablets to the US and Can­ada doesn’t know what she did wrong, a Danish em­­bassy official said Monday.

Axelsen Jo­hanne Vin­ther, 55, has been held at Prey Sar pri­son’s CC2 since being arrested April 9 for alleg­edly trying to send 10,761 pain­killing pills by post at the central post office near Wat Phnom.

Phnom Penh Municipal Court charged Vinther, a tourist who arrived in Cambodia in March, with illegally trafficking drugs under Article 32 of the Law on Control of Drugs, according to a copy of the pre-trial detention order. Under Article 32, if found guilty, she could face fines and10 to 20 years in pri­son.

Tom Hansen, head of the Re­presentative Office of Denmark, said he met with Vinther on Mon­day. He described her as “happy.”

“She believes she wasn’t doing anything illegally,” Hansen said by telephone. “She says she was out purchasing something that is legal to buy here in this country, so what is the problem?”

“The most important thing is she is now being provided with a lawyer who will look into the case, though of course we’re not sure when it will be reopened,” Hansen said. He did not know the name of her lawyer.

Municipal court and Interior Ministry officials involved in the case could not be reached for comment Monday.

Police officers who spoke on condition of anonymity said Monday that police had been investigating Vinther since March 28 following a tip by postal workers who had be­came suspicious of packages she tried to post. When Vinther re­turned to the post office to send mail April 9, she was arrested.

Police photographs obtained Monday show lumpy packages and stacks of envelopes allegedly be­longing to Vinther containing large numbers of pills packed in tin foil or clear plastic bags. Plastic children’s toys were also found in the packages with pills hidden inside.


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