PHNOM PENH – Cambodia’s immigration department has arrested a 37 year-old Australian woman with 1,814 grams of heroin found embedded in the side of her suitcase in several different packages.
Cambodia’s General Department of Immigration named the woman as Ve Thi Tran, a 37-year-old Australian national of Vietnamese heritage.
An immigration official at Phnom Penh airport, who declined to be named as he was not authorized to comment, said the 37-year-old was preparing to return to Australia via Hong Kong when she was arrested while checking in at the airport on Saturday.
The arrest followed a tip-off from the Australian federal police, which requested cooperation with Cambodia’s immigration department in making the arrest, the official said.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) said it was aware of the woman, and was ready to offer her consular assistance.
The Australian Federal Police said it was working with Cambodian authorities on the matter.
Drug-smuggling offenses are dealt with harshly by the Cambodian justice system. In 2016 an appeal court upheld a 23-year jail sentence for an Australian woman, Yoshe Ann Taylor.
Taylor, a 41-year-old former teacher from Queensland, and 19-year-old French woman Charlene Savarino were arrested in 2013 at Phnom Penh International Airport with 2.2kg of heroin in Taylor’s bag.
The pair were preparing to fly to Australia.
Savarino was sentenced to 25 years in jail and a Nigerian man, Precious Chneme Nwoko, sentenced to 27 years. Taylor claimed she was tricked into carrying the drugs.
In May two foreign nationals were given life sentences for attempting to smuggling nearly 5kg into Cambodia, The Cambodia Daily reported.