Barely two weeks after three Nigerians and one Indonesian were executed for drug trafficking in Indonesia, the fate of eight Nigerians appears to be hanging in the balance in Cambodia as the nation’s anti-drug law agency, said it has concluded the trial of eight Nigerians alongside their Cambodian accomplice.
The Cambodian woman, alongside the eight Nigerians, it was gathered, were arrested after police caught the group allegedly trafficking one kilogramme of crystal methamphetamine in Phnom Penh’s Chamkarmon district in January 2015.
While delivering his judgment, the presiding judge, Khy Chhay, named the nine on trial as Okorom Nhabu Favour (36), Izuchukwu Chuwuma (40), Nnamezie Victor (30), Simon Maduka Ukadu (45), Sunday Nwabusi (31), Okorom Kizito Chimedu (35), Francis Nnamedi (30), Tony Mmaduka Chuwuonye (34) and Morn Vinyung (31), who is the Cambodian woman.
Two online news portals, Khmertimeskh.com and Abiyamo.com alleged that eight Nigerians and the Cambodian accomplice were all charged under article 40 of the Drug Law.
In spite of an admission of guilt from Vinyung, who is alleged to be Chuwuonye’s girlfriend at the time of their arrest, all the eight suspects denied the charges against them, saying they were Christian missionaries who came to Phnom Penh to open a church.
Commenting on this, the deputy chief of the Anti-Drug Unit at the 9th Intervention Police Office in the Ministry of Interior’s anti-drug department, Captain Proeung Pheap, said the group was using their Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries (MFM) church as a front for a drug ring, hiding their identities and trafficking under the guise of missionary work.
He claimed the police discovered the illegal operation after Vinyung delivered drugs to undercover officers three separate times at the Sovanna supermarket in Chamkarmon district in January 2015.
The death penalty has been abolished in Cambodia, but the law on the control of drugs bodes ill for those caught with controlled substances.
Cambodia’s laws prescribe punishment ranging from 5 years to life in prison.