PHNOM PENH, July 20 (Xinhua) — The number of people arrested for drug trafficking in Cambodia in the first half of this year has increased by 159 percent, a local newspaper reported Monday, citing police officials.
The National Police released a report saying 1,959 people were arrested in relation to 998 drug dealing cases between January and June, the Phnom Penh Post reported.
Deputy National Police Chief General Mok Chito said that in the same period last year, police arrested 755 people.
He said the 159 percent increase was “very surprising.”
“We have only cracked down and made arrests for six months this year, but the number of those we have arrested has already passed what we had for the whole year last year,” the newspaper quoted Chito as saying.
According to Pin Sokhom, a drug specialist at NGO Mith Samlanh, the spike could possibly be attributed to the rising demand for drugs among young and more affluent individuals.
“We’ve been noticing that a lot of high school students and people from the middle class are buying and using drugs, and because of this (drugs are) also becoming easier to get hold of and cheaper,” he said. “The police have been clamping down on drug dealers, but it’s still definitely out there, just moving around.”