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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Drug law set to increase police powers

Drug law set to increase police powers

BANKING and gambling will face tougher scrutiny if a draft anti-drug trafficking

law is adopted by the National Assembly.

The Law on Narcotic Drugs, now being considered by the Assembly's Committee on Legislation,

will require gamblers to provide identification, and the registration of large purchases

of "chips and coins".

It also proposes to tighten banking procedures, including more rigorous recording

of currency movements in and out of Cambodia.

The draft law grants wide powers to police, including the power to search and detain

drug suspects for 48 hours without charge - or longer with a judge's permission -

the power to tap telephones, and search vehicles and premises.

Human Rights groups have expressed some concern about the potential for abuse of

the law, but stressed they had not yet properly examined it.

In addition to clamping down on cash transactions involved with drug trade, the legislation

also outlaws cultivation of the opium poppy, cocoa bush and cannabis, imposing fines

of between 100,000 and 1.5 million riel.

Drug traffickers will face penalties of between ten million and fifty million riels

and between ten and 20 years in prison, and State confiscation of property and money

thought to have been obtained through the proceeds of drug trafficking.

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