22-year-old Thai woman jailed for life in Cambodia

Kaewkanlaya Amphawan is searched at Phnom Penh International Airport on March 30, 2016
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Cambodian court on Thursday convicted a Thai woman of cross-border drug trafficking and sentenced her to life in prison, according to a verdict, China’s Xinhua news agency reported.

Kaewkanlaya Amphawan, 22, was arrested at the Phnom Penh International Airport on March 30, 2016 for carrying about 2.6 kg of cocaine disguised as candies stuffed in chocolate cans. She flew into the airport via a Qatar Airways flight from Doha.

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“Kaewkanlaya Amphawan was charged with illegally possessing and transporting drug substances,” said the verdict read by Phnom Penh Municipal Court judge Heng Kesaro. “The court decides to sentence her to life in prison and to fine her 60 million riel (US$15,000).”

During a trial session in December, Amphawan denied knowing there were drugs among the chocolate boxes, saying that she got those boxes from her Nigerian boyfriend’s older brother.

Cambodia has no death sentence for drug traffickers. Under its law, a person who traffics more than 80 grams of drug will be facing life imprisonment.

The Southeast Asian country has ramped up its fight against illicit drugs in recent years. According to the National Authority for Combating Drugs, the authorities had cracked down on 4,191 drug-related cases in 2016, arresting 9,802 suspects with a total of over 175 kg of drugs.


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