At the closing ceremony yesterday for the National Authority for Combatting Drugs annual meeting, Interior Minister Sar Kheng said some police officers disregarded drug complaints and reports filed by citizens.
“Some people have claimed our officers in the commune level did not do much to combat drug distribution [networks] and users,” he said. “I have been told some officials ignore reports from people for many reasons and have yet to figure out why.”
Mr Kheng said law enforcement agents must prevent drug crimes from occurring and crack down on offences if they get a report from citizens.
“Drug trafficking along the railway in Tuol Kork district is the subject of public criticism. Our officials must keep pushing for accountability,” he said. “I have forwarded cases to Phnom Penh Municipal Police and hope our officials will conduct regular checks in the area.”
He added law enforcement agents must also monitor the import of raw material because some contain chemicals that can be used to manufacture drugs.
“We must control certain raw materials which contain chemicals used in drug production,” he said. “These raw materials must be registered and checked by relevant ministries.”
“Checking them allows the authorities to prevent ill-intentioned people from trafficking drugs,” Mr Kheng added.
Him Yun, director of the Coalition for Integrity and Social Accountability, said yesterday Mr Kheng should take action against police officers who ignore drug crime allegations.
“This is not something new we just heard of – there are drug crimes in communes reported by villagers, however, these were not considered by the authorities,” Mr Yun said.
“I think Mr Kheng should discipline or punish police officers who ignore people’s concerns,” he added.
Mr Yun noted people frequently raise concerns about drug crimes involving senior government officials, but no investigation has been conducted.
According to an NACD report, the authorities last year cracked down on 9,806 drug cases, an increase of 22.56 percent when compared to the previous year’s figure.
NACD president Ke Kim Yan said yesterday Cambodia is prone to drug smuggling operations from Thailand and Laos.
“Although our officials have been working hard, the situation has not improved,” Mr Kim Yan said. “Drugs keep flowing into the country via air, land and sea.”
“[Drug trafficking] requires the full attention of the authorities,” he added.