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Australian jailed for 18 years over opium: report

July 20, 2005 - 3:50PM

An Australian man of Cambodian descent has been sentenced to 18 years in jail in Cambodia on a drug smuggling charge, a newspaper reported today.

Ya Sakhan, a municipal court judge, found Yin Karat, 23, guilty during his trial yesterday, the newspaper Rasmei Kampuchea (Light of Cambodia) reported.

It said the judge also ordered the man to pay a fine of 40 million riel ($12,850).

Ek Sam Oeun, 48, a peasant living in Cambodia and a relative of Yin Karat, was jailed for 10 years on a charge of conspiring to smuggle drugs in the case, it added.

Yin Karat's home town in Australia is not known.

Attempts to reach the judge for comment were unsuccessful.

Nach Tri, an attorney for one of the men, confirmed the trial took place but declined to comment when reached by telephone today.

Police detained the two after arresting Gordon Voung, 17, an Australian of Asian decent, who tried to smuggle two kilograms of opium out of Cambodia through Phnom Penh International Airport in January, an anti-drug police officer said today.

Airport police caught Voung with small packs of opium strapped to his body when he tried to board a late-night flight out of Cambodia, the police officer said, asking that he not be named due to the risky nature of his job.

Voung is serving a 13-year sentence in a Cambodian prison after being convicted in May. His early confession led to the arrest of Yin Karat and Ek Sam Oeun, who helped pack the drug for him, the officer said.

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