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Drug cases soar during crackdown

Khy Sovuthy / Khmer Times Share:

Drug cases rose in the first nine months of this year compared with the same period last year.

General Meas Vyrith, general secretary of the National Authority for Combating Drugs, said there were 5,549 cases this year. This was a rise of 2,143 cases, or 63 percent, on the first nine months of 2016.

Police and military police arrested 12,255 people, including 1,266 women in the nine months of this year. The figure was an increase of 4,158 people, or 51 percent.
“We confiscated 359 kilos of drugs include methamphetamine, ecstasy, heroin, cocaine and ketamine,” Gen Vyrith said.

More than 50 participants from ministries involved in combatting drugs took part in a meeting yesterday led by the anti-drug authority vice-chairman Kao Khondara.
The authority’s report said that among those arrested were 11,988 Cambodians, including 1,198 women.

There were 215 Vietnamese, 13 Chinese, eight Lao, eight Nigerians, six French, three Americans, three Thais, three Russians and other nationals arrested as well.
Valuables seized included 76 cars, 1,473 motorbikes and thousands of dollars.

Properties frozen included two hotels, a guesthouse and land, the report said.

“Even though authorities worked to crack down on big drug crimes and cut off their many contacts they still face problems at some north-eastern provinces that continue to import illegal drugs.

“International criminals still try to use Cambodia as a place where they transfer drugs illegally by land, water, air and through the post,” Gen Vyrith said.

“There are two ways that drug trafficking happens,” he added.

“The first is in north-eastern Cambodia, Preah Vihear, and Stung Treng provinces that connect Cambodia and Lao.”

He said this route allowed traffickers to transport drugs from the golden triangle region to supply the market and foreign market.

“The second group still has ambitions to use opportunities if we get careless. On the other hand, the golden triangle region continues to grow opium poppies and produce heroin and methamphetamine.”

In the golden triangle region, about 1,000 tonnes of heroin and methamphetamine in powder form are produced every year, along with 1,000 tonnes of the drugs in tablet form.

“Cambodia still suffers from drug trafficking from other countries in the region and internationally,” Gen Vyrith said.

In October the Interior Ministry warned guesthouses and clubs they would face the law if they did not step up their efforts to ban illegal drug use in their facilities.

The ministry said it has taken note of lacklustre cooperation from private businesses in combating drug use in the guestrooms, clubs and karaoke bars.

Deputy national police commissioner Mak Chito said at that time that the campaign against illegal drugs said the institutions had been warned in the past and not heeded the call.

“We cracked down on drug offences at some guesthouses and night clubs in the past,” Mr Chito said. “We have more participation from those business owners, but there are some locations that seem not to cooperate, which means we have to appeal to them again and warn them that further non-cooperation will lead to jail time.”

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