The mother of an Australian teenager jailed in Cambodia for heroin trafficking has accused Australian police of tipping off their Cambodian counterparts rather than arresting her son in Australia after she informed them of his activities.
Hong Ta said she notified police when she suspected her son, Gordon Vuong, was about to act as a drug mule, and that she had hoped the police would use her information to stop her son before he left the country, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported Wednesday.
Gordon Vuong, who was 16 at the time, was arrested at Phnom Penh International Airport in 2005, with 2.1 kg of heroin, as he tried to leave the country. He is currently serving 13 years at Prey Sar prison.
An Australian Embassy spokesman declined to comment. Asked about the reports, Interior Ministry spokesman Lieutenant General Khieu Sopheak said he had no new information on the Vuong case.
Vuong’s lawyer claimed the Australian Federal Police had betrayed his client’s trust after the teenager’s mother went to police in an attempt to stop her son from smuggling drugs, the Australian Associated Press reported.
According to AAP, Australian Justice Minister Chris Ellison denied that Australia tipped off Cambodian police. But ABC ran a contradictory report, in which Ellison confirmed that the AFP had provided information to Cambodia. “Police replied with the information that they had in relation to Gordon Vuong,” ABC quoted Ellison as saying, adding that he stood by his officers’ actions.