Two RCAF soldiers based at the Cambodia-Laos border were arrested along the Mekong River Tuesday afternoon in possession of about 6,000 amphetamine pills, police said.
Sun Chan, 31, and Pheap Sokha, 23, both soldiers from RCAF’s Battalion 101 in Stung Treng province, were nabbed at a Kompong Cham district port in Kompong Cham province, said Chou Pi Chhoura, chief of Stung Treng provincial penal police, whose officers assisted in the arrests.
“This is the first time that my police officials cooperated with Kompong Cham police to arrest drug traffickers who are soldiers,” Chou Pi Chhoura said, adding that his officers had been tracking the two from Stung Treng.
“Previously, I had only heard that soldiers and some…officials are dealing with drug smuggling, but I could never find real evidence for arrests,” he added.
Kompong Cham provincial Deputy Police Chief Seng Sokim said the men denied they were soldiers. One told police his name was Sun Chan, and the other identified himself as Chea Sopheap, Seng Sokim said.
He said the two were arrested around 1 pm while attempting to bring the pills to an unknown person who had ordered the stash by phone. The suspects told police that they bought the drugs in Stung Treng province, he said.
Tuesday’s arrests mark the fifth mass drug seizure in Kompong Cham province this year, Seng Sokim said, adding that authorities have confiscated 76,000 amphetamine pills since January.
In recent months, drug experts have noted an increase in amphetamines smuggled into Cambodia through Laos via Stung Treng.
Chou Pi Chhoura said Tuesday that soldiers and government officials found guilty of drug smuggling should face harsher punishment than civilians.
“Educated people abusing the law must receive severe punishment to warn others, otherwise the drug smuggling will be widespread,” he said.