Officer and Daughter, 12, Guilty on Drug Charges

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Monday imprisoned a former military police officer for seven years after he was convicted, alongside his 12-year-old daughter, for trafficking 31 grams of methamphetamine with the intent to sell.

Former national military police officer Chay Chim, 50, was jailed for seven years and fined 12 million riel, or about $3,000. His daughter was given a two-year suspended prison sentence and allowed to return to her family.

“The court found them guilty of allegations of drug trafficking and if they do not accept the conviction, they have the right to appeal for 30 days after the verdict is announced,” said Presiding Judge Chaing Sinath.

According to Major Bun Thy, deputy chief of the municipal anti-drug police unit, the girl was arrested near her house in Russei Keo district’s Toul Sangke commune on September 13.

“After her arrest, police seized a small package of methamphetamine from her,” he told the court.

“Based on her confession during questioning, police took action and arrested her father at his house on the same day,” Maj. Thy said, adding that police seized another eight packages of methamphetamine, a K-59 pistol and 10 bullets from Mr. Chim’s home.

The girl, who attended her trial Monday, was released on bail after her arrest in September. Her father was held in pre-trial detention ahead of the trial.

According to the Penal Code, the age of criminal responsibility is 18, though courts have the power to impose criminal penalties on minors of 14 years or more “if warranted” by the circumstances of the crime.

Ideally, however, the law says that “minors who commit offenses shall be subject to supervision, protection and assistance” instead of serving time in prison.

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