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More than 20,000 arrested for drug crimes last year

Buth Reaksmey Kongkea / Khmer Times Share:
Police seize drugs during a crackdown in Banteay Meanchey province last week. Police

Police arrested more than 20,000 people in connection with drug trafficking and seized more than 3,000 kilogrammes of drugs last year.

According to a report by the Anti-Drug Department in the Ministry of Interior dated January 2 and obtained by Khmer Times yesterday, from January 1 to December 31, 2020, police cracked down on 10,193 cases of drug offences nationwide.

The report said that 20,913 suspects, including 1,267 women, were detained. Of these were 355 foreigners, including 45 women, from 14 nationalities.

The report stated that police seized 3,251 kilogrammes of drugs including methamphetamine, ecstasy, cocaine, ketmamine and heroin, 289 kilogrammes of marijuana and 287,735 plants.

They also seized, 148 cars, 2,618 motorcycles, 7,908 mobile phones, 530 scales, 29 pistols, 26 rifles, two houses, two plots of land, one condominium, one warehouse and froze $20,000 in three bank accounts.

The report added that the number of arrests rose 20 percent compared to the previous year while the drug seizures increased by 17 percent.

Major General Truos Sochea, Deputy Chief of Anti-Drug Department in Ministry of Interior, told Khmer Times yesterday that the number of arrests and amount seized rose due to increased crackdowns.

Maj Gen Sochea said following directives from the Minister of Interior, national police chief and other superiors, police expanded law enforcement activities by creating more agencies as well as building upon intelligence gathering to flush out drug ringleaders.

“According to our police’s investigations as well as my personal understanding, the Kingdom’s drug problems are the result of activities from neighbouring countries such as Laos and Myanmar,” Maj Sochea said. “The drugs were mostly imported from the Cambodia-Lao border for distribution to users in the Kingdom.”

General Mak Chito, national police deputy chief in charge of anti-drug affairs and Lieutenant General Loek Vannak, Anti-Drug Department chief, could not be reached for comments yesterday.

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