Official’s Son Jailed for Abetting Drug Use in Karaoke Parlor

The Battambang Provincial Court on Thursday charged the son of a government official with abetting illegal drug use after he and five others were arrested at a karaoke parlor where police found illicit drugs, officials said.

Thai Noreak Pitou, the actor son of Thai Noreak Sathya, a secretary of state at the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, was arrested along with his wife and four others on Monday night when police raided the Sound Family KTV in Battambang City, police said on Wednesday.

Mr. Noreak Pitou, 32, Phea Bunheng, 32, and Hab Sovath, 29, were each charged with abetting, court spokesman Touch Sopheakdey said on Thursday. The charge carries a prison sentence of two to five years and a fine of up to 10 million riel, or about $2,500.

Mr. Noreak Pitou’s wife, Ork Ratanak Ponika, 27, Hun Mane, 27, and Mr. Bunheng were sent to the provincial rehabilitation center. “Those three people used very small amounts of drugs so we will send them for education,” Mr. Sopheakdey said.

Mr. Noreak Pitou and Mr. Sovath were sent to the provincial prison.

KTV owner Heng Yousong, 24, was charged with facilitating illegal drug use and also sent to the provincial prison. The charges against Mr. Yousong are punishable by one to five years in prison and a fine of up to 10 million riel. The court also charged two other KTV owners in absentia, and they remain at large, Mr. Sopheakdey said.

During the raid, authorities found two devices for making pills, three packages of ketamine, two bottles of Diazepam and 16 packs of Zepam tablets. The latter two drugs, which are prescribed for anxiety, are sold over the counter in many pharmacies.

The government launched an anti-drug campaign at the start of this year, promising to crack down on drug trafficking and expand rehabilitation services. About 650 people were arrested for drug-related crimes in the campaign’s first week, police said.

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