Drug arrests up by 79 percent

Khuon Narim / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
Officials watch as confiscated drugs are destroyed. KT/Chor Sokunthea

The National Authority for Combatting Drugs made 79 percent more arrests for illegal drugs last year than in 2016, however some officials say the region is still struggling to control the flow of narcotics.

The government launched a campaign against illegal drugs last year and has claimed it was a success, carrying it forward into this year.

According to an annual report, authorities cracked down on 8,173 cases involving illegal drugs in 2017 compared with 4,246 the previous year, an increase of 92 percent.

Drug busts increase: Arrests and seizures of narcotics keep growing as crackdown continues. KT/Chor Sokunthea

Authorities seized more than 296 kilograms of illegal drugs, including cocaine, methamphetamine, amphetamine, heroin, and marijuana.

A total of 17,795 suspects were arrested last year, a 79 percent increase over the 9,933 arrested in 2016. In addition, authorities confiscated 88 vehicles, 2,246 motorbikes and about $51,000 in various currencies.

Foreigners involved in drug offences came from 24 different countries including Vietnam, China, France, Australia, Colombia, Nigeria, Russia, the US, Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, Slovenia, Taiwan and England.

Meanwhile, there was a 9.43 percent increase in the number of drug users receiving treatment at local community health centres, with 15,796 drug users receiving treatment last year compared with 11,601 in 2016.

NACD chairman Ke Kimyan said countries in the region were still struggling to control the flow of illegal drugs.

“The drugs that flow into Cambodia come by road, post and airports. Most come from the northeast border with neighbouring countries,” he said.

Interior Minister Sar Kheng said drugs were more prevalent at tourist sites in Siem Reap and Preah Sihanouk provinces, and in provinces along the border including Takeo, Preah Vihear, Ratanakkiri and Stung Treng.

“People are continuing to be affected from drug trafficking and drug use,” he said.

He asked authorities to work harder to stop offenders at the Cambodia-Laos border in order to prevent drugs from entering the kingdom.

Mr Kheng also rebuked Preah Sihanouk provincial governor Yun Min, who was absent from the annual meeting.

“It seems that he has not cooperated to support the crackdown on illegal drugs for all of last year,” he said.

Mr Kheng warned officials not to get involved or defend the activity of people connected with drug trafficking since it affected the judicial system.

“This matter is very important. It’s a challenging issue if it happens so we must encourage our officers not to get involved, especially law enforcement officers,” he said.

“I appeal to eliminate the culture of intervention. When we see they are doing something wrong we have to implement the law.”

Mr Kheng also urged officials to strengthen cooperation with neighbouring countries in order to stop the flow of drugs and arrest drug traffickers.

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