Municipal police arrested two Laotian men Thursday in connection with the smuggling of 20,000 amphetamine pills into Phnom Penh, police officials said Sunday.
Bun Than, 52, and Thorng Pay, 42, were caught in Chamkar Mon district’s Boeng Keng Kang III commune, where they allegedly intended to sell the drugs, Deputy Municipal Police Chief Heng Pov said.
“We had been investigating these two men for a long time before we had the evidence to arrest them,” he said.
Police alleged that the two men smuggled the pills from Laos in their luggage. They entered Cambodia at the Stung Treng border crossing, then stayed in Kompong Cham province for several weeks before arriving in Phnom Penh.
Thorng Pay is a former monk who stayed in Phnom Penh’s Wat Ounalom in April with a group of Laotian monks, Heng Pov said. His friend Bun Than is a logger in Laos. Both live in Vientiane.
After Thorng Pay left the monkhood, he met with Bun Than to discuss smuggling the Laotian-made pills into Cambodia, Heng Pov said. The two men were sent to municipal court on Saturday.
Last year, UN drug officials said more drugs are entering Cambodia from Laos than from Thailand, due in part to the porous border between the two countries.
In a Saturday news conference at the municipal police office, Heng Pov appealed to Cambodia’s youth not to use drugs, saying they pose a danger to health and national security.
“Drugs have a greater impact than HIV/AIDS,” he said. “HIV/
AIDS patients acknowledge that they are going to die, and they stay in bed unable to do anything. But drug addicts have health problems and become criminals hated by society.”
A 2002 study by the NGO Mith Samlanh/Friends, which works with street children, found that
45 percent of homeless children use drugs, with amphetamines and glue the most prevalent substances.