Importer of Drug Precursors Named, Apparent Link to Mango Compound Seizure

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Authorities arrested six individuals and confiscated 100 kgs of drugs in a raid spanning eight locations in Phnom Penh and Kandal province. (National Police)

The country’s top narcotics police official said Friday that more than 100 tons of chemicals seized this week were imported by a company chaired by a Chinese national that was not fully licensed to do so.

The chair of the company, as listed with the Commerce Ministry, is Ye Yanshou, whom police named last month as the owner of an alcohol disinfectant factory that was operating as a drug lab. More than 80 tons of ketamine precursors and 1.4 tons of the drugs were seized in relation to the facility at the time, police had said. The factory was on the same compound as prominent mango processor Richfarm Asia, which denied any involvement.

Interior Minister Sar Kheng earlier this week called on authorities to investigate the recent import of more than 100 tons of chemicals that can be used to produce illegal drugs. Some of the imports had received approval from licensing authorities, he said.

National Police deputy chief Mok Chito on Friday named the importer as Xin Yinfeng. Chito told VOD the company had imported eight chemicals but was only legally licensed to bring four of those chemicals into Cambodia.

Chito said he has not yet been able to identify which ministries and institutions are involved in this case. Xin Yinfeng is based in the Oral district of Kampong Speu province, he said. Oral is the same district as the alcohol factory of the December seizure.

Chito said authorities are currently requesting technical assistance from the U.S. and Australia to neutralize the seized chemicals. He said police are investigating further to determine which officials signed off of the imports.

“It depends on our investigation, whether involvement was intentional or unintentional is still unanswered,” he said.

Commerce Ministry spokesman Pen Sovicheat did not answer when asked if Xin Yinfeng was registered with the Ministry of Commerce. However, a company by that name is on the Commerce Ministry business register for fertilizer manufacture, and is chaired by Ye. It was registered in 2015.

Kun Nhem, director general of the general department of customs and excise, said he was busy with a meeting and unable to answer why the office allowed Xin Yinfeng to import chemicals beyond its licensing.

Officials have yet to specify which chemicals are involved in the case. However, in a Tuesday post on his ministry’s Facebook page, Agriculture Minister Veng Sakhon instructed his officials to prioritize working with drug authorities to control chemical fertilizers and pesticides that can be used to make drugs.

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