The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Tuesday charged two Chinese men for allegedly smuggling 50 kg of ketamine, crystal methamphetamine, heroin and ecstasy pills from the Golden Triangle region, officials said.
San Sothy, deputy director of the Interior Ministry’s anti-drug department, said that Su Yang Liang, 41, and Yang Deying, 44, were “charged with trafficking, keeping and illegally producing drugs.”
If convicted, the men could receive sentences of between 40 years to life in prison and face fines between 80 million and 180 million riel, or roughly $20,000 to $44,000.
Police said they arrested Mr. Su after a five-month investigation, stopping him while driving in Tuol Kok district’s Boeng Kak II commune with half a kilogram of crystal meth.
Under questioning, Mr. Su told officials about a house in the same commune containing the bulk of the drugs. He also gave them information that led to the arrest of Mr. Yang along Monivong Boulevard with 2.1 kg of heroin on his person, police said.
A neighbor of the house along Street 616 in Boeng Kak II commune, who identified himself only as Vannak out of fear for his safety, said the house had regularly been frequented by Cambodians and Chinese people driving luxury cars.
“They came at night, mostly from 6 to 7 p.m.,” he said, adding that the house had been under some form of construction since he moved to the area seven months ago.
Vannak said the Chinese men would often sit in front of the house smoking cigarettes with the construction workers.
“We thought they were just ordinary residents,” he said.
Cambodia has recorded an increasing amount of drug trafficking in recent years. In July, two Chinese nationals were among four suspects sentenced to life in prison for trafficking nearly 55 kg of meth and heroin.
A report released in February by the U.N.’s Office on Drugs and Crime identified Cambodia as a “transhipment hub of growing importance.”