Elderly Brit, Girlfriend Deny Drug Trafficking

An elderly British man, his Cambodian girlfriend and two Cambodian-American men went on trial on Wednesday for drug trafficking charges, more than a year after police arrested three members of the group for using and dealing crystal methamphetamine and marijuana.

Peter Gold, 70, and his girlfriend Sim Lin, 36, were arrested at Ms. Lin’s apartment in Phnom Penh’s Daun Penh district after undercover officers bought drugs from Ms. Lin on multiple occasions at Sorya Mall, Judge Ly Sokleng told the court as the trial began.

British national Peter Gold is led out of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Wednesday after his trial on charges of drug use and trafficking. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)
British national Peter Gold is led out of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Wednesday after his trial on charges of drug use and trafficking. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)

Mr. Sokleng said the pair had been charged with drug use and trafficking after officers confiscated about 4 grams of methamphetamine, about 2 grams of marijuana and a scale from the apartment. Their alleged conspirators in the case are Cambodian-Americans Em Seng, 43, and Sophoan Hol, 50, a former celebrity DJ who was already imprisoned on a separate drug-related conviction.

Mr. Seng stands accused of using drugs and supplying Ms. Lin, while Mr. Hol, operating out of the minimum security PJ prison, allegedly helped connect Mr. Seng with suppliers.

Under questioning by deputy prosecutor Kham Sophary, Mr. Gold was asked why he had thumbprinted a statement prepared by the National Authority for Combating Drugs confessing his guilt.

“I just thumbprinted it, and I didn’t know what it meant until I was charged of trafficking and use,” he said. “I am 70 years old. I never smoked a cigarette, let alone took any drugs…. I don’t know anything about drugs.”

Ms. Lin admitted to using crystal meth, which she said she had bought from a Vietnamese woman, but denied the trafficking charge.

Mr. Seng also admitted to using methamphetamine but denied supplying drugs to Ms. Lin. He also said that he had thumbprinted a false statement, but said it was because police threatened and assaulted him during questioning.

“Police hit my head two times so I was afraid, so I just answered,” he said.

Mr. Hol denied that he knew Mr. Seng and said he could not contact people from prison, as he did not have a telephone.

The verdict will be announced on May 2.

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