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Monday, November 02, 2009

Taiwan smuggler gets 37 years

PHNOM PENH - A CAMBODIAN court has sentenced a Taiwanese man to 37 years in jail for drug smuggling and possession of illegal weapons, a judge said on Monday.

Judge Chhay Kong of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court said he sentenced 21-year-old Hsiao Kuo-leang on Friday after finding him guilty of trying to smuggle a kilogram (2.2 pounds) of heroin and possession of two handguns.

Hsiao, who was arrested in late 2008 when authorities found the drugs in his car, was also ordered to pay a fine of US$25,000 (S$35,000), the judge said.

The judge added that Hsiao also testified that he was hired by another Taiwanese man to set up a laboratory in order to produce drugs to smuggle out of Cambodia.

In recent years a number of Taiwanese nationals, including a 90-year-old man, have been jailed for attempting to smuggle narcotics out of the Cambodian capital.

Although drug arrests have increased, Cambodia is becoming an increasingly popular trafficking point for methamphetamines and heroin, particularly since neighbouring Thailand toughened its stance on illegal drugs. -- AFP

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