Appeal Court Upholds Oknha’s 8-Year Drug Sentence

The Court of Appeal on Monday upheld an eight-year sentence for trafficking and using drugs handed to businessman Tan Seng Hak following a November 2012 raid on his Phnom Penh villa that uncovered 1.5 kg of cocaine and methamphetamine.

“We upheld the Phnom Penh Municipal Court’s verdict,” Presiding Judge Chay Chandaravan said Tuesday, declining to comment further.

Mr. Seng Hak, who holds the title of oknha, an honorific issued to businesspeople who donate large sums of money to the government, was arrested after police seized the haul of drugs as well as various drug-related paraphernalia at his home in Sen Sok district.

In 2013, the tycoon was sentenced to eight years imprisonment and four accomplices were jailed for six years.

During the trial, Mr. Seng Hak, who was also jailed in 2007 over illegal land deals and formerly served as an adviser to Senate President Chea Sim, admitted to using drugs but claimed authorities had forced him to confess to drug smuggling to ensure the release of his 22-year-old son, who was among 12 people arrested in the raid.

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