Drug seizures and arrests in the capital more than doubled last year, according to the Phnom Penh Municipal Police’s 2015 annual report released yesterday.
According to the report, the police made 465 drug busts last year, an increase of 255 over 2014. Police also made 1,260 individual drug-related arrests, an increase of 701.
“In 2015, the drug issues in Phnom Penh city are still a challenge and complicated, because the criminals attempted to use the city as a target for circulation [of narcotics] to other countries for regional and domestic distribution,” the document says, echoing findings made by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in February that the Kingdom is a transit hub in the international drug trade.
The report links the prevalence of drug use in communities to higher crime rates, citing the homeless and youth as the main drug-using population.
“The drug users have caused crimes including robbing, stealing, murdering, and raping women and children,” it says.
In line with the findings of the UNODC, the report identified methamphetamines and other amphetamine-type-stimulants (ATS) in addition to ecstasy as the primary narcotics found on the streets.
“We have noticed that drugs . . . are illegally distributed in small networks.”
Typically, this distribution occurs at businesses that serve as fronts, often “under the umbrella of tourist services” as well as public locations or in “poor communities that consist of jobless local gangs”.
In a phone interview yesterday, Lieutenant General Mok Chito of the National Police said that the village of Trapaing Chhouk in the capital’s Sen Sok district remained one of the most significant drug-dealing locations in the city.
“Trapaing Chhouk is anarchy and complicated,” he said, adding that “there are other places . . . like Borei Keila and the railway [communities]”.
While Trapaing Chhouk has been the subject of weekly police raids over the past year, Doung Siem, chief of the railway community’s Village 3 (Phoum Bai), told the Post earlier this month that forces needed to be deployed there to halt the dealing of drugs there which happens “day and night, 24/7.”
“We have three security officers, but they are old . . . the police have guns; we cannot do anything.”