Monday, 28 March 2011 15:02 Buth Reaksmey Kongkea
Khiev Sanmon, acting secretary general of the National Authority for Combating Drugs, said yesterday that a Philippine national arrested last week for attempting to bring 3 kilograms of methamphetamine pills through Phnom Penh International Airport along with three others have been charged with drug offences.
Bookcilo Deyana, 26, a Philippine national, was arrested on March 21 after customs officials discovered the methamphetamine pills in her luggage, Khiev Sanmon said.
He added that Okere Ugochukwu Emmanuel, 30, president of the Nigerian Association of Cambodia, was arrested the following day based on information gathered from Deyana during questioning. Two Cambodian nationals identified as Mey Heng, 37, and Yim Rith, 40, were also detained on March 21 based on the same questioning.
“These people were officially charged [on Saturday]. The Nigerian man and the Philippine woman were charged with international drug trafficking, and the two Cambodian nationals were charged as accomplices,” Khiev Sanmon said.
He said all four suspects were in prison awaiting trial.
Ken Gaddafi, former president of the Nigerian Association of Cambodia, said yesterday that members of the association have had no contact with Emmanuel and little access to information about the case.
“We have yet to get any concrete facts about what transpired,” he said.
He warned, however, that the issue was a potentially damaging one for other Nigerian nationals living in Cambodia, who he said were often subject to generalisations about the alleged actions of individuals.
“The issue does not speak well for the Nigerian image,” he said, adding that much more information about the circumstances of the arrest of Emmanuel was needed.
Khiev Sanmon said that if convicted, the suspects could face up to 10 years in prison.