S Korean Drug Suspects Arrested at Border

Two South Koreans suspected of drug smuggling were arrested at the Poipet International Checkpoint on Wednesday while attempting to enter Cambodia from Thailand en route to their home country, police said on Thursday.

The men, who were wanted by Interpol, were apprehended at the border crossing in Banteay Meanchey province shortly after noon on Wednesday, according to Sem Makara, deputy immigration police chief at the checkpoint.

“Lee Taehwa, 47, and Kim In Bae, 56, were both arrested by immigration police in cooperation with anti-drug police from the Ministry of Interior,” Mr. Makara said on Thursday.

Deputy National Police chief Mok Chito said Interpol had issued “Red Notices” for the men at the request of South Korean police, who also informed their Cambodian counterparts that they believed the men would attempt to enter the country from Thailand.

“Both Korean men are at our anti-drug department at the Interior Ministry for questioning and will be sent to the South Korean police, who are the owners of this case,” Lieutenant General Chito said.

He said the men were known to have smuggled unknown types of drugs from the Golden Triangle— the mountainous intersection of Laos, Burma and Thailand—to South Korea via Cambodia several times in the past.

“We do not know how much drugs were involved in the smuggling into the Republic of Korea,” he said.

Neither of the two men were listed on Interpol’s website as of Thursday afternoon.

A secretary at the South Korean Embassy in Phnom Penh declined to discuss the case.

“I already talked to the official in charge of this matter and he said this is something that is being kept secret,” she said.

(Additional reporting by Alex Willemyns)

[email protected]

© 2016, The Cambodia Daily. All rights reserved No part of this article may be reproduced in print, electronically, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without written permission.