A volunteer Thai anti-drug agent who was arrested in Oddar Meanchey province for possession of methamphetamines has a history of paying Cambodians to smuggle drugs to Thailand and then making sure they get caught, police alleged Tuesday.
Thai authorities, however, claim the agent was set up and are threatening to close down Oddar Meanchey’s Chong Chom border pass if he is not released.
The Bangkok Post reported Tuesday that Amnuay Khemkhaeng, described as a volunteer anti-drug agent from Thailand’s Surin province, crossed the Thai border to investigate drug production in Oddar Meanchey.
Song Pisith, Oddar Meanchey deputy police chief, said Tuesday that Amnuay Khemkhaeng was arrested on Thursday for attempting to take 30 methamphetamine pills into Cambodia. He was sent to Siem Reap province because remote Oddar Meanchey does not have a courthouse, Song Pisith said.
“We have reports from the Cambodian people about Mr Amnuay selling drugs from Thailand,” said Song Pisith. “They said he paid money for Cambodians to deliver drugs to Thailand for him to sell.”
Authorities from Surin province are standing by Amnuay and have alleged he was set up, the Post reported.
According to the newspaper, Amnuay Khemkhaeng was scheduled to receive an award for his work as an undercover investigator in Cambodia and his efforts in Thailand’s fight against drugs.
Songchai Chaipatiyut, second secretary of the Thai Embassy in Phnom Penh, said Wednesday that he had no details about the arrest or the threats to close the Chong Chom checkpoint.
A second Cambodian police officer, who requested anonymity, said Tuesday that he had proof that the Thai agent was organizing the Cambodian people he later turned over to Thai police.
“After our investigation we found out that Amnuay is a Thai agent in Surin province,” the officer said.
“But he frequently visits Cambodia to get more people to work for him, and then they get arrested in Thailand,” the officer said.
“Amnuay has tricked and attracted Cambodian people to deliver drugs to him in Thailand and then he told Thai authorities to arrest those people,” the officer alleged. “We have to prevent him from doing this in the future because many Cambodian people have been found guilty in Thailand for drug trafficking.”
The officer said that before Amnuay was arrested, a woman reported to police that Amnuay paid her about $23 to take amphetamines into Thailand and offered to pay her around $46 more after she made the delivery.
The Bangkok Post also reported Tuesday that police Colonel Virat Thatthong, chief of police in Kap Choeng district, Surin province, Wirun Kamhaeng, assistant district chief, and Major Saneh Krichan, a Thai military coordinator on Cambodian affairs, met with an Oddar Meanchey deputy police chief on Monday to request the Thai agent’s release.
“Thai authorities came to meet with Oddar Meanchey police to ask for his release, but the police chief will not approve it because we have real evidence—so let the court decide this case,” Song Pisith said.
“But I heard that if Cambodia does not release him, the Thai authorities said they will shut down the border checkpoint,” he added.