Drug cases are continuing to fill the courts as sentences heard on Monday ranged from three and a half years for a man caught with 1.29 grams of meth to 26 years for a Chinese national convicted of production.
Long Guohui, 50, appealed his conviction at the Supreme Court alongside Chea Vanna, 39, as both claimed that they had only played minor roles as traffickers, and their bosses remained free.
In 2018, Vanna was sentenced to 23 years for trafficking and Long 27 years for trafficking and production, though the Appeal Court reduced Long’s sentence to 26 years.
Vanna told the court that two men, Tola and Sitha, were behind the drug operation, and Tola was the one who had brought drugs and women into his hotel room. Long, meanwhile, said he was staying in NagaWorld, but when he went to a Koh Pich apartment with an air-conditioner repairman as a job for “Mr. Liv,” police were in the room and arrested him.
Prosecutor Bou Bunheang, however, said both men were part of a major drug bust, where a large quantity of drugs as well as equipment was confiscated, and they were only making excuses and changing their answers.
In another case, Keo Sinong appealed her 10-year sentence for trafficking 14 packages of drugs weighing more than 100 grams. She said she had confessed to the crime and gave information about her boss. But prosecutor Bunheang said the 10-year sentence was already the minimum for the quantity of drugs she had transported.
In the Appeal Court, meanwhile, three drug cases were heard during the morning. Vorn Samnang, 24, convicted of trafficking 9.49 grams of an undisclosed drug, appealed his three-year, eight-month sentence saying he had already served 18 months and hoped to be released in another six to reduce prison overcrowding during Covid-19.
Le Van Hao, 36, denied the charge against him, saying police had found drugs at his house but they were not his.
Run Keo Phirum, 39, was serving a three-year, six-month sentence for trafficking 1.29 grams of methamphetamines. He said he had bought the drugs for 100,000 riel (about $25) for his friends, and admitted that he was a drug user, but asked that his sentence be reduced.
The country has been undertaking an anti-drug campaign since 2017, when, six months into the campaign, authorities already declared the initiative a success. More than 20,000 people were arrested for drugs last year, and over 7,000 in the first half of this year, while the country’s prisons face severe overcrowding. Amnesty International has criticized the anti-drug campaign as leading to human rights abuses.
The U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime, however, has said that Cambodia is being “increasingly targeted” for drug trafficking and production by international crime syndicates.