Chinese, Vietnamese Arrested in Sokha Hotel Meth Raid

Police arrested four people at Sokha Phnom Penh Hotel & Residence on suspicion of drug smuggling on Wednesday night after officials raided a room and found about half a kilogram of crystal methamphetamine, an official said, adding that the suspects admitted to flushing another 5 kg of the drug down the toilet.

Born Sam Ath, a deputy municipal police chief, said more than 10 police raided the hotel room where the three Chinese nationals —two men and one woman— and a Vietnamese woman were staying at around 8 p.m. after receiving reports from hotel staff of suspicious behavior by the group.

The Sokha hotel in Phnom Penh. (Enric Catala)
The Sokha hotel in Phnom Penh. (Enric Catala)

“There were more than 10 of our forces who reached the suspects’ room in Sokha after we received reports about them. We then surrounded the room and attempted to get in while the suspects were splitting the ice into separate plastic bags,” Mr. Sam Ath said, using a slang term for the drug.

After the alleged smugglers ignored initial requests by police to enter the room, the officers attempted to force their way in, but came up against stiff resistance from the suspects, Mr. Sam Ath said.

“It took five minutes until we broke the door open because they tried to block the door from the inside, so our forces had to hit it hard,” he said.

Once the group had been detained and half a kilogram of crystal meth had been confiscated from one of the Chinese men, the group was taken to the municipal police headquarters for questioning, he said. Two members of the group admitted to flushing 5 kg of the drug down the toilet as the two others blocked police from entering the room, he added.

“As we investigated, we found that the suspects admitted to throwing 5 kg of methamphetamine down the toilet. But when we broke inside, the Chinese suspect was holding just over half a kilogram in his hands,” he said. “I think that they wanted to reduce the weight of the drugs in their possession.”

Mr. Sam Ath said police also found remnants of the drug on the toilet seat.

He claimed not know the names of the suspects, who he said would be sent to the municipal court today.

Police officials in Chroy Changva district and Chroy Changva commune, where the hotel is located, said they did not know about the case. Hotel management could not be reached for comment.

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