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Drug seizures rise despite drop in arrests

Khuon Narim / Khmer Times Share:
Flooded with drugs: Drug seizures rise by 12.5 percent and top half a tonne in 2018. KT/Chor Sokunthea

The National Authority for Combatting Drugs yesterday issued a year-end report that showed a 12.5 percent increase in the amount of drugs seized by police, despite a drop in the number of arrests.


The report noted that police confiscated 533 kilograms of drugs last year, up from 296 kilograms in 2017, despite a drop in the number of arrests, from 17,795 in 2017 to 16,232 last year.

The report said the drugs seized included methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin and marijuana.

“Although the number of arrests is down, drug seizures have gone up,” General Meas Vyrith, NACD secretary-general, said yesterday.

General Mok Chito, deputy National Police chief, yesterday said illegal drugs flow into the country through its northeast borders, via the post office and through airports.

“Methamphetamine flows from Laos and into our provinces,” Gen Chito said. “The government has been carrying out anti-drug campaigns since 2017, but drug traffickers are still intent on importing drugs across Cambodian borders in order to reach a secondary destination.”

“Hundreds of thousands of people will suffer because of drugs, so we have to crack down and continue to confiscate drugs,” he added.

Police confiscated 533 kilograms of drugs last year, up from 296 kilograms in 2017. KT/Chor Sokunthea

Gen Chito noted that drugs hitting the Cambodian market can have a street value of about $20,000 per kilogram depending on which drug is being sold. If the drugs reach the United States or Australia, the street value can jump to about $100,000 per kilogram.

Gen Chito said despite the increase in seizures, there has been a decrease in the number of addicts in the Kingdom.

“We have about 400 community treatment centres for drug addicts,” Gen Chito said. “Before the campaigns, there were about 20,000 drug addicts, and now we have only about 10,000.”

Mom Chandany, director of the Okhas Nhom Centre in Phnom Penh, yesterday said users must bring it upon themselves to seek treatment.

“After the government and other institutions began disseminating information to drug addicts, more users now understand that they need to be treated,” Ms Chandany said. “As for my centre, the number of addicts we house fluctuates up and down.”

In September, the Health Ministry reported that most addictions stem from methamphetamine abuse. It also noted that there are currently 8,821 drug addicts being treated at drug rehabilitation centres.

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