Two Taiwanese drug smugglers sentenced to long jail terms

Two Taiwanese men charged with trying to smuggle 2.1 kilograms (4.6 pounds) of heroin out of Cambodia have been sentenced combined prison terms of 58 years, a court official said Tuesday.

Sao Miech, a judge of Phnom Penh Municipal Court, convicted Yen Choan Hseh, 59, and his partner, 49-year-old Chi Tsung Lieh, during a trial Monday, said Plong Sophal, a court prosecutor.

The prosecutor said the judge sentenced Yen and Chi to 30 and 28 years in prison respectively on drug smuggling charges.

The judge also ordered both men to pay a total fine of 130 million riel (US$32,000; EUR23,800), Plong Sophal said.

He said police at Phnom Penh International Airport arrested the two men with the drug in their possession last October, when they checked in for a flight to Hong Kong.

He said the men hid the drug in their shoes.

Poeung Thyda, the lawyer for the Taiwanese men, said she plans to discuss a possible appeal with her clients.

In January, the same court convicted a 90-year-old Taiwanese man to 10 years in prison for trying to smuggle heroin out of the country.

Cambodia is not a major drug producer, but has increasingly become a smuggling transit route.

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Author`s name Angela Antonova