Foreigners Die of Suspected Drug Overdoses

Another two foreign men have died from suspected drug overdoses in Phnom Penh hotels in recent days, police say, bringing to four the total number of such fatalities in the past week.

John Gray, a 41-year-old US citizen, was found dead in his room at the Sunway Hotel on Sunday, ac­cording to Wat Phnom Police Chief Sok Bunlay.

The decomposed state of Gray’s body and the foul smell in his room led autopsy police to be­lieve the man had been dead at least three days, Sok Bunlay add­ed. Cocaine and a syringe were found in Gray’s room, according to investigators and police re­ports.

On Saturday, 38-year-old Ger­man citizen Peter Andreas was found dead in his room at the Paris Thmei guest house in Daun Penh district, according to Uy Saothy of the Municipal Drug Po­lice. Authorities suspect his death also was caused by a drug overdose, Uy Saothy said.

“It is very difficult to crack down on foreign drug users,” Uy Saothy added. “Some come to Cam­bodia and are already heavy drug addicts.”

Last week, British citizen Dow­ling Edward was found dead of a suspected overdose in his Chey Chumneah commune hotel room, according to police re­ports. In a separate incident, Aus­tralian Blake Leder fell to his death from the roof of Num­ber 9 guest house on the Boeng Kak lake while allegedly under the influence of drugs, police said.

Minister of Tourism Veng Serey­vuth on Monday brushed off the suggestion that this series of drug-related fatalities might paint an unfavorable picture of Phnom Penh as a tourist destination during this week’s Asean Tourism Forum.

“These are simply individual incidents,” Veng Sereyvuth said. “I don’t know why or how they happened, so I can’t comment,” the minister added.



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