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Three Get Up to 20 Years for Drug Trafficking

Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Wednesday sentenced three Taiwanese citizens between 12 and 20 years in prison for their involvement in the export of more than 1.2 kilograms of heroin from Cambodia.

Huang Chih Huang, 34, was sentenced to 20 years in prison and fined 60 million riel, or about $15,000. Lin Hui Min, 17, and Wu Chia Hsun, 16, both women, received 12 years and fines of 40 million riel, about $10,000, each.

The three are being held at Prey Sar prison, on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, following their arrest in December 2007 at Phnom Penh International Airport, when police confiscated heroin packets hidden under their clothes.

"The three confessed that they were hired to bring heroin from Cambodia to Taiwan," court deputy prosecutor Sok Kalyan said. "They are poor, and they did that for money."

Lawyers for the three were not available for comment.

Center for Social Development court monitor Hang Charya said the three had confessed to transporting the drugs for money.

Lor Ramin, secretary-general of the National Authority for Combating Drugs, said Friday that police were so far only able to arrest people who are hired to transport the drugs, instead of breaking up the organized crime network involved.

Police are continuing the investigation into the drug network, but would require help from Interpol, Lor Ramin said.

Taiwanese groups committed some of the most drug trafficking in Cambodia, he said.