Customs officials in Australia seized more than 1 kg of heroin sent through the mail from Cambodia this week, according to a news report.
Officials discovered the drug stashed in a package containing six dinner plates, the Australian Broadcasting Corp reported Tuesday. Two other packages containing heroin were also discovered in the soles of two pairs of women’s shoes, mailed from Thailand, it reported. In total, 1.5 kg of the drug were seized.
A 64-year-old Malaysian national was arrested for attempting to import an illegal substance and is expected to appear in court next month, the report said.
Sok Chhour of the Interior Ministry’s anti-drug police said Wednesday he had received no information about the shipment. But, he said, it is not uncommon for drug smugglers to send drugs through the mail.
“In the past we have investigated cases of drugs sent by post,” he said.
The postal service appears to be one of the most popular ways of transporting heroin out of Cambodia, though it is usually sent in small quantities, said Graham Shaw of the UN Office of Drug Control and Crime Prevention.
In Phnom Penh, 1 kg of heroin would cost about $20,000, Shaw said. That same amount would be worth about ten times as much in Australia, he said.
In April 2003, Australian customs officials discovered 24 kg of heroin smuggled from Cambodia in a shipment of fish paste. The discovery led to the October arrest of five Cambodian customs officials, including Sihanoukville Customs Bureau Chief Lin Ky and his deputy Pen Sarath. All were charged with drug trafficking. Days later, they were released on bail on Prime Minister Hun Sen’s order.
Heroin is usually trafficked through Cambodia from Burma, and then on to international markets, Shaw said Wednesday. Increasingly, the drug appears to be transported into the country through Laos and into Stung Treng province, he said.