A group of drug dealers stole 500,000 baht, or about $15,300, from two police officials with the National Authority for Combating Drugs (NACD) in a failed sting operation in Battambang province’s Sampov Loun district on Friday, officials said Monday.
Chet Vanny, provincial deputy police chief, said that the operation on Friday was part of an ongoing crackdown on drug trafficking in the district, which is on the border with Thailand.
“Police took the money to meet the dealers at a designated place, then they were robbed. We know that the robbers were armed,” he said, adding that he did not know what type of guns they carried.
The armed robbers quickly took the money, then ran away with the drugs, Mr. Vanny said, adding that the two NACD officials were helpless to stop the dealers because they were unarmed.
Lieutenant General Meas Vyrith, secretary-general of the Interior Ministry’s NACD, said that he was informed of the botched operation by the two anti-drug police officers.
“I was told by telephone that the drug dealers stole the money from police when they tried to buy drugs from them,” he said.
Lt. Gen. Vyrith said that NACD officials had previously conducted similar operations in the area, so the dealers who were being targeted may have already been tipped off that the deal was fake.
“We have identified the suspects and police are still trying to arrest them,” he said.
Mr. Vanny said that police are now questioning Chuong Sothy, 52, a border police officer who called the drug dealer to set up the exchange.
Lt. Gen. Vyrith said that the NACD officials involved in the sting had used funds from the Ministry of Interior in their attempt to buy methamphetamine, and that this was the first case of anti-drug police being robbed during a sting operation.