Police on Wednesday arrested a 42-year-old Taiwanese woman suspected of attempting to smuggle powdered opium at Pochentong International Airport, authorities said.
Huang Feng Mei of Taipei, Taiwan’s capital, was set to board a plane back to her native country when she was apprehended by police, an officer at Pochentong said on Thursday.
Huang Feng Mei entered Cambodia on June 21. The officer said she had strapped a bag of opium alkaloid—the powdered form of the drug—around her waist. The bag weighed about 1.9 kg, the officer said. She also was carrying a bag of clothes and personal effects.
Police said they stopped and inspected Huang Feng Mei because they suspected by her appearance that something was hidden under her clothes.
She told police she planned to mix the drug with tobacco to make opium-laced cigarettes when she got back to Taipei, the officer said. She did not say whether she planned to sell the drug.
Se Mara, deputy director of the anti-drug department of the Ministry of Interior, said Thursday that a portion of the confiscated powder was sent to a laboratory to be tested. A preliminary color test indicated that the white powder was some sort of addictive substance, Se Mara said.
Huang Feng Mai was in the hands of Interior Ministry anti-drug officers and was being detained Thursday, but authorities did not reveal where she was being held.
On Wednesday, Cambodia celebrated the UN’s International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking with parades all over the country. UN and government officials say drug use and drug trafficking are both increasing in Cambodia.
Most of the heroin—a powerful opium derivative—entering Cambodia comes from Burma and through Laos, usually exiting overland into Vietnam, where it becomes difficult to trace, said Bengt Juhlin of the UN Office of Drug Control and Crime Prevention.
Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday called drug use a disease akin to AIDS.