Official Caught Smuggling Gold Into Vietnam

A senior Cambodian police official has reportedly been arrested and detained by Vietnamese officials who caught him smuggling gold bars worth more than $750,000 into the country.

Rim Ri Linh, 50, deputy chief of Phnom Den International Checkpoint in Takeo province, was driving toward An Giang province’s Tinh Bien district in southern Vietnam on November 25 when he was apprehended, Vietnamese newspaper Tuoi Tre reported.

Vietnamese border officials arrested Mr. Ri Linh after he failed to stop at the Tinh Bien border gate to complete immigration paperwork, the report said.

Dressed in his uniform at the time, Mr. Ri Linh was found to be in possession of 18 24-carat gold bars worth $753,563, it said.

During questioning, Mr. Ri Linh told Vietnamese officials he had an agreement with another Cambodian man to transport the gold to a Vietnamese woman in the town of Nha Bang on the Cambodia-Vietnam border. He also confessed to smuggling gold into the country on three other occasions last month, the report said.

Ouk Samnang, chief of police in Takeo province, said he had been informed of the arrest by checkpoint officials.

“I heard that there was an arrest of a deputy chief of an international checkpoint for smuggling gold,” he said on Monday, adding that he did not know further details of the case.

Sok Samnang, the checkpoint’s chief, said he was unaware of the case before hanging up on a reporter.

National Police spokesman Kirt Chantharith declined to comment and referred questions to the Interior Ministry, where spokesmen could not be reached.

In March this year, Vietnamese officials arrested four Cambodian women suspected of conspiring to smuggle gold across the border.

The women, hailing from Takeo province, included relatives of provincial officials. They were stopped and searched after crossing into Vietnam’s An Giang province, but released after being found with cash totaling 1 billion Vietnamese Dong, or about $44,000, but no gold.

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