Sihanoukville City in Cambodia where the country's only deep sea port is located. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

A Vietnamese businessman appeared in a Phnom Penh court on Monday on charges of smuggling more than 100 kilograms of cocaine from Nicaragua to Cambodia hidden in a load of octopus.

On November 26, 2016, Vuong Minh Quoc, 40, allegedly brought in more in 100 kilograms of cocaine hidden inside octopi shipped from Nicaragua to the Preah Sihanouk Autonomous Port in Sihanoukville City, Khmer Times reported.

Anti-drug trafficking police arrested Vuong and seized the cocaine from the shipment sent to Vuong’s company.

Brigadier General Sary Botrsatya, national deputy anti-drug trafficking police chief, said they received a tip-off from China’s Ministry of State Security that a ship loaded with octopus was headed to Cambodia. Chinese authorities arrested the ship’s captain and seized 1,000 kilograms of cocaine, but left 110 kilograms on board.

“Chinese authorities wanted to find out who owned the shipment, so they let the ship’s assistant captain continue the journey to Cambodia,” Botrsatya said.

On Tuesday at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, Vuong was charged with drug trafficking and faces life imprisonment if convicted. Vuong denied the allegations and said he had a contract to import octopus from Nicaragua for sale in Cambodia and Vietnam.

A verdict will be handed down on September 17.