Five Foreigners Stay in Sihanoukville Jail

A British woman arrested in a police drug sweep on a Sihan­oukville guest house Thursday  has been released without being charged, but five other foreign nationals will remain in jail until their court appearance, Sihan­oukville police and a court official said Monday.

Sihanoukville police chief Doung Sareoun said a 27-year-old British woman was released over the weekend after investigators found she was not involved in drug activities at the Melting Pot guest house and restaurant.

According to Doung Sareoun, two other British men, an Irish man, an Indian man and an Aus­tralian man are being held in Sihanoukville Municipal prison following the raid, which uncovered five kilograms of marijuana, eight cakes containing marijuana and a small quantity of amphetamine and ecstasy pills.

It is unclear when the five will appear in court, as evidence is still being compiled, said Tak Kim Sea, Sihanoukville court in­vestigating judge.

Court investigations can take as long as four months, and a further extension of two months can be granted if further evidence is needed, Tak Kim Sea said.

“Now I am looking for an interpreter, so I can interview the five about the charges,” he said.

Guest house owner Craig Alex­ander, 41, a British national, and Indian national Prabodh Choud­hary, 25, who worked as a cook at the guest house, are being charged with drug trafficking.

British national Andrew Ellard, 30, Irish national Eric Flanagan, 25, and Australian Paul Miller, 48, are facing charges of drug possession, said Tak Kim Sea.

Thong Lim, anti-narcotics police chief at the Interior Min­istry, said Monday further operations targeting drug use among budget travelers in Phnom Penh will be conducted.

Thong Lim also rejected claims that the Sihanoukville raid was intended to distract attention from recent allegations against himself and three other high-ranking officials accused by a fellow police officer of accepting bribes to protect a 30-hectare marijuana plantation in the neighboring province of Kampot.




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