A Change of Guard

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Thursday, 21 April 2016

Alleged Drug Dealers Rat on Each Other

Khmer Times/Buth Reaksmey Kongkea Wednesday, 20 April 2016 

Peter Gold was escorted by prison security after a hearing at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court. KT/ Mai Vireak

A group of alleged drug dealers, including an elderly British national, his Khmer girlfriend, a Cambodian-American and a DJ, were tried by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday over allegations of drug trafficking committed last year.

Presiding judge Ly Sok Leng said the four suspects, 70-year-old Peter Richard Gold, his girlfriend Sim Lin, 31, 40-year-old Em Seng and Sophorn Horl, also known as DJ Soup, who is best known in Cambodia as the former presenter of a popular radio entertainment program on TV3, were charged with various crimes including “drug use, drug trafficking, and committing a felony after sentencing for a misdemeanor.”

Judge Leng added that Mr. Seng had spent 18-months in prison for illegal weapon use and was released in 2013, while Mr. Horl was now serving a 12-year prison sentence for drug related offences in 2011.

Deputy Anti-Drug Unit Police Chief Lieutenant Colonel Toek Sony said the four were arrested in various locations in Phnom Penh’s Khan Daun Penh district on February 10 and 11 last year.

He added that police spent weeks investigating their activities before making the arrests, with undercover police successfully buying drugs from Mr. Gold. Mr. Gold and his girlfriend were arrested in Daun Penh district at about 5:30 pm on February 10.

“Police have known their identities and whereabouts after our undercover police contacted Mr. Gold and his Cambodian girlfriend and bought drugs directly from them at their rental house near the Sorya Mall,” he said.  

“We raided their rental house and arrested them while they were smoking drugs inside the house.”  

Police confiscated 4.68 grams of crystal methamphetamine, 18.44 grams of marijuana, a scale and various other drug related materials.

Mr. Sony said that based on Mrs. Sim Lin’s confession, police arrested Mr. Seng at his rental house nearby, seizing 2.75 grams of crystal meth from his house.

After Mr. Seng confessed, police re-arrested the imprisoned Mr. Horl at Prey Sar Prison the next day.

During the trial, Ms. Lin and Mr. Seng admitted their guilt, however Mr. Gold and Mr. Horl denied the allegations.  

Ms. Lin said she had been living with Mr. Gold for three months, adding that Mr. Gold was a frequent drug user.

She said she had purchased the drugs from unknown men at Central Market only for personal use.   

“I accept that I was a drug user, but I was not a drug trafficker,” she told the court.

“The drugs and other materials that police have confiscated from Mr. Gold’s room belonged to him,” she said.  

Mr. Seng said he did not know Mr. Gold, but knew Ms. Lin through Mr. Horl, who telephoned them from prison and said he had never bought drugs from Ms. Lin or Mr. Gold.

He added that he had known Mr. Horl when he was imprisoned at Prey Sar.

“I have known drug sellers, but not know their real names, via Mr. DJ Soup. During that time I wanted to buy drugs and marijuana and I telephoned directly to him in prison. He then gave the contact numbers to me,” he said.

He stated that after getting the contact numbers of drug dealers from Mr. Horl, he place orders and bought drugs, selling them on to foreigners in Phnom Penh.

He added that he could earn $20 to $30 per drug sale and from $80 to $100 per package of dried marijuana.  

Mr. Gold admitted Ms. Lin was his girlfriend, but said he had never used drugs with her.

“I never saw any drugs or other related materials inside my house. I also never smoke drugs,” he said.

He claimed police planted the drugs and other related material inside his house in order to arrest him.

“I was innocent. I would like to ask the court to drop the charges and release me,” he said.

Mr. Horl also asked the court to drop the charges against him.

“I did not know Em Seng or Sim Seng. I never contacted or telephoned them,” he said.

“I would like to ask the court to drop my charges,” he added.Their verdicts will be announced on May 2.

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