Girl Admits Handling Meth ‘Because of Love’

A 16-year-old karaoke parlor worker on trial for selling crystal methamphetamine to an undercover police officer admitted to the charges on Monday and implicated her codefendant, a woman already imprisoned for drug trafficking.

Presiding Judge Meng Tony told the Phnom Penh Municipal Court that Bun Sorphoan gave a plastic bag containing more than 383 grams of meth to the agent on June 29 last year near a traffic light in Phnom Penh’s Chamkar Mon district.

The judge said police confiscated another 0.9 grams of meth and 7.14 grams of ketamine after searching the rented room of the girl’s boyfriend, Pon Samneang, 34, who remains at large.

During the trial, Sorphoan testified that she and her boyfriend obtained the meth from a foreigner, who was not identified. She said they had been introduced to him by her codefendant, 32-year-old Kuy Sreyleak, who is serving a five-year term in PJ prison for drug trafficking.

Sorphoan said she initially did not know the plastic bag contained meth, but admitted to handing it over to a man she believed to be Ms. Sreyleak’s relative.

“Why did you still take a risk bringing it without getting any benefit?” Consulting Judge Chuon Sokreasey asked.

“Because of love,” Sorphoan ­responded.

The defendant testified that she and her boyfriend twice visited Ms. Sreyleak at the prison and that he also talked to her by ­telephone.

Chea Samoeun, a deputy bureau chief in the Interior Ministry’s anti-drug trafficking department, said secret police had investigated Ms. Sreyleak for months and an agent had visited her in prison to discuss drug deals.

Ms. Sreyleak denied knowing Sorphoan and her boyfriend, conducting any sort of business from prison or having any involvement in the transaction.

“Please, find justice for me,” Ms. Sreyleak told the judge. “I have been sentenced to five years in prison. It is too long already.”

In her closing statement, Ngan Touchsophorn, Ms. Srey­leak’s law­yer, said her client’s name was not mentioned in the police report or by the deputy prosecutor, and only came forward when Sorphoan was questioned by an investigating judge. She said more investigation was needed.

A verdict is set to be announced on July 7.

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