A SYDNEY teenager convicted in Cambodia of drug smuggling could serve his 13-year jail term in Australia under a prisoner transfer deal expected to be signed next month.
Chinese-Australian Gordon Vuong was 16 when he was arrested at Phnom Penh International Airport in January, 2005, with 2.1kg of heroin concealed on his body.
He was sentenced by Phnom Penh Municipal Court in May last year to 13 years in prison.
His family and friends say Vuong, a former student at Christian Brothers Lewisham in Sydney's inner-west, was coerced into acting as a drug mule by two adults, who have since been convicted of drug smuggling in Cambodia.
Customs Minister Chris Ellison said today he hoped to sign a prisoner transfer deal with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen when he visited Canberra next month.
"We are making good progress with a transfer of prisoner agreement with Cambodia," Senator Ellison said.
"Gordon Vuong was sentenced as a juvenile and his case has been of concern to the Australian government because of his age.
"I'll be raising this matter with (the Cambodian prime minister) and hopefully looking towards signing an agreement with the Cambodian government when he visits Canberra."
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said Vuong appealed his sentence yesterday in the Cambodian Appeals Court.
The court would hand down its decision on September 18, a spokesman said.
Gordon Vuong Case Informaiton