Suspects Sent to Court After Drugs Shootout That Killed One, Injured One

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Phnom Penh Municipal Court in December 2021. (Ananth Baliga/VOD)

Thai suspects — including a major trafficker wanted for killing a Thai police officer — arrested in a drugs raid that led to a fatal shootout and the seizure of 40 kg of drugs have now been provisionally charged with drug trafficking, police said.

The anti-drugs department launched a crackdown on four Thai suspects in Phnom Penh’s Chroy Changva commune on August 31. When the suspects fought back, police fired on the suspects, killing one and injuring another, police said.

Meas Vyrith, secretary-general of the National Authority for Combating Drugs, said the police had no plan to open fire, but the suspects disregarded officers’ orders and had shot at them.

“We instructed them to put their hands up, but they didn’t put them up. They raised a weapon instead. So we have to use weapons in return,” he said, explaining that there was only one gun among the four suspects. Vyrith added no officers were injured in the exchange.

An anti-drugs department statement says police seized 41 kg in total: 12 kg of ketamine and 29 kg of methamphetamines. The injured suspect was the mastermind of the operation, known as a major drug trafficker in Thailand and facing several arrest warrants including for the murder of a Thai police officer.

“These drugs are from the Golden Triangle, and they planned to persuade others to sell it for them,” Vyrith said.

Vyrith added that no one else was hurt during the raid.

“We crack down at a place where it’s safe for citizens. If it wasn’t safe, we wouldn’t do a raid with weapons. We would just walk away.”

Vyrith said the arrested suspects had now been provisionally charged by prosecutors for drug trafficking and sent to court.

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