Shoot-Out After Laotians Snared in Drug Sting

Stung Treng provincial military police and at least four Laotian drug smugglers exchanged gunfire along the Lao border Tuesday after a man was arrested for attempting to sell more than 1.5 kg of crystal methamphetamine to undercover officers, an official said Wednesday.

With the help of an informant, military police organized a deal with a group of Laotian drug smugglers for 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday in Thala Barivat district, said Sy Sameth, chief of the provincial military police’s penal bureau.

“But they asked to move from one place to a different place along the Cambodian-Laotian border,” he added.

Mr. Sameth explained that the smugglers asked to meet in Preah Vihear province’s Choam Ksan district to the west, and that police agreed.

“When we arrived at an area of thick forest, the drug dealers sent out one Laotian man with the drugs to exchange for the money,” he said.

Officers then quickly surrounded the man and arrested him, prompting at least four of his accomplices hiding nearby to open fire, he added.

“Gunfire was briefly exchanged and no one on either side was injured or killed,” Mr. Sameth said. “But the drug dealers’ gunfire prevented our military police from pursuing them through the thick forest and allowed them to escape.”

The bureau chief said that after the skirmish, his officers confiscated two bags of methamphetamine, one weighing about 800 grams and the other 880 grams.

He said the arrested man—Laotian national Thai Saing Sivorn, 54 —was questioned through a translator Wednesday and then sent to the Stung Treng Provincial Court.

Methamphetamine smuggling between Laos and Cambodia is not uncommon.

Earlier this month, anti-drug police in Preah Vihear arrested a 47-year-old Cambodian woman with more than 800 grams of methamphetamine but failed to arrest a group of Laotian smugglers she is believed to have been working with.

On January 10, Stung Treng anti-drug police arrested a 30-year-old man in Stung Treng City after he smuggled 3,992 methamphetamine pills across the border from Laos.

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