The owner of a Sihanoukville pharmaceuticals factory and one of his employees were provisionally charged with drug trafficking on Sunday after ketamine was found inside computers being shipped from the company, with more drugs later found at the factory, police said.
Lin Guo, a 28-year-old Chinese national and CEO of the Health Phat Pharma company, was arrested at the firm’s factory in the Sihanoukville special economic zone on Wednesday, said In Song, an officer at the Interior Ministry’s anti-drug department. He has been detained along with Cambodian employee Yorn Pov, 34, at the department since last week and would appear at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court today, Mr. Song said.
About 92 grams of the drug—used medically as an anesthetic and recreationally as a hallucinogen—was found last Monday inside more than 1,000 sealed bottles labeled with the company’s name inside the computers, which were being shipped to Malaysia through Phnom Penh International Airport, he said.
“Because of the problem of him hiding [them], that’s why we noticed it,” Mr. Song said. “If it was legal, and he stored them properly, no one would have noticed.”
The bottle labels led police to the company’s factory, where nearly 1 kg of ketamine was found, he said. Under questioning, Mr. Lin confessed to exporting the drugs without a license, claiming that a customer in Malaysia urgently needed the product, Mr. Song said.
Mr. Pov was suspected of delivering the drugs to a logistics company tasked with shipping the computers abroad, Mr. Song said. He declined to name the company, citing an ongoing investigation. Police interviewed about 40 factory workers after the drugs were found at the airport.
The former firm operating the factory had a license to produce ketamine, but the current owner did not, Mr. Song said.
“We are not sure if his production is illegal or legal yet,” Mr. Song said of Mr. Lin’s operations. Regardless, he added, “he is wrong, because he didn’t have a license to export.”
Contact information for Health Phat Pharma could not be found on Sunday, while the special economic zone’s market and service department did not reply to a request for comment.
soumy@cambodiadaily.com
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