Phnom Penh Municipal Court has taken over the case of 17 suspects arrested earlier this month during a high-profile raid on a suspected Kompong Speu province drugs laboratory, officials announced Sunday.
Municipal Court Director Chiv Kheng said his court, rather than the Kompong Speu provincial court, would investigate the case of the 17 men as well as that of the Chinese woman arrested in Phnom Penh’s Tuol Kok district, where police also seized a ton of suspected precursor chemicals for methamphetamines.
“Our court asked that all these men be transferred to Phnom Penh to make it easier to question them. Because their ringleaders are in the city, they are our suspects,” he said. Chiv Keng said it was unclear when any trials might be held.
“An investigating judge is now investigating to discover the ringleaders who were behind them. All 14 workers are victims,” he said.
April 1 police raids in Phnom Penh and at the suspected drug lab resulted in the arrests of 14 Cambodians and four foreign nationals as well as the seizure of three tons of chemicals allegedly used in the manufacture of amphetamines.
Authorities later disclosed that no illicit drugs were discovered in the raids and the Cambodians, reportedly hired hands at the suspected drug lab, had only been present for an hour prior to their arrests.
Relatives of the Cambodian suspects have said they were hired on the understanding that they would be spraying chemicals on the land to kill grass.