The National Authority for Combating Drug and its counterparts in partner countries are set to establish a joint working group to investigate and share information on cross-border drug crimes in the region.
NACD vice chairman General Chuon Sovann on Tuesday led a delegation to attend a ministerial meeting on enhancing cooperation in fighting transnational drug crimes held in Vietnam’s Hanoi city.
The meeting was also attended by delegates from China, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, the Philippines, and police officials from the US, Australia and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
In a joint statement issued on September 10 after the meeting, relevant officials have agreed to create a joint working group tasked to investigate transnational drug crimes and report to countries and related international institutions on relevant cases.
“In order to enhance the effectiveness in cooperation, we must boost further bilateral cooperation in the region and international community, and create a working group to tackle the problem,” it said.
In the statement, officials also agreed to implement a comprehensive chemical control strategy to prevent the diversion of chemicals into illegal drugs, and to examine the feasibility of providing technical assistance and sharing experiences on drug testing operations in the Golden Triangle area.
Neak Yuthea, deputy secretary-general of the National Authority for Combating Drugs, yesterday said that during the meeting, officials of participating countries also shared lists of drug networks and information on large-scale drug dealers.
“The meeting addressed the situation of drug crimes across the region, and monitoring and verifying information each country shared on preventing and combating drug crimes,” he said. “The meeting also determined suspects who have been operating cross-border drug crimes.”
San Chey, executive director of the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability, yesterday welcomed the establishment of a joint working group. He also noted that one of the alternative ways to prevent cross-border drug crimes is to increase controls over border checkpoints.
“I see that the main problem is drug trafficking across land borders and waterways,” Mr Chey said. “Authorities should strengthen its inspection and control at these points in order to prevent drugs from being exported and imported.”
“It’s also important to stamp out police officers who are involved in drug crimes,” he added.
The Interior Ministry’s anti-drug police department has cracked down on 3,676 cases and arrested 7,664 suspects, including 177 foreigners, during the first six months of this year, according to a report.
In the report, nearly 10 percent of illicit drugs seized was intercepted in airports, 20 percent was smuggled through post offices, and 70 percent were apprehended at the international border checkpoints.