Cambodian Woman Arrested With 8 Kg of Gold in Vietnam

A Takeo province resident was arrested over the weekend in Vietnam for smuggling 8 kg of gold and 100 million riel, or about $25,000, into the country, according to provincial authorities.

Ouk Samnang, the Takeo provincial police chief, said on Tuesday that he had received a report from Vietnamese authorities that a woman illegally brought money and gold across the Vietnam border.

Kim Heng, chief of staff of the Kiri Vong district police station in Takeo province, said he knew the woman only as Hea, a gasoline seller living in Preah Bat Chonchum commune who frequently traveled to Vietnam.

Vietnamese news outlet Tuoi Tre News named the woman as Vuoch Hea, and said she was arrested on Saturday at the Tinh Bien border gate in Vietnam’s An Giang province.

A separate Vietnamese news outlet, Viet Nam News, reported that Ms. Hea, 60, was stopped after she failed to complete her immigration paperwork.

She has been detained to await trial in a Vietnamese court, and officials confiscated the money, approximately $373,000 in gold bars, a motorbike and two mobile phones, Viet Nam News reported.

Ms. Hea told Vietnamese officials that she had purchased the gold in a Cambodian market and intended to sell it across the border, the newspaper said.

Mr. Samnang, the police chief, said Cambodians smuggle gold bars across the border to resell in Vietnam, where restrictions on the import and use of gold make its value on the black market often—but not always—higher than in Cambodia.

“Sometimes, when the market price of gold in Vietnam is higher, they bring [gold] from Cambodia to sell in Vietnam, and when the market price in Vietnam is cheaper, they bring from Vietnam to sell in Cambodia,” he said.

Late last year, incomplete immigration paperwork led Vietnamese authorities to arrest another Cambodian national carrying gold: a senior police official in uniform.

Rim Ri Linh, 50, a deputy chief of the Phnom Den International Checkpoint in Takeo province, was caught smuggling more than $750,000 worth of gold over the border and was also detained in Vietnam to await trial.

Mr. Samnang said Cambodian officials would seek extradition for both Ms. Hea and Mr. Ri Linh after their sentencings.

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