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Drug raids sweep Phnom Penh

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Police and drug enforcement officers take part in a drug bust in Phnom Penh’s Chamkarmon district last week. Photograph: Hong Menea/Phnom Penh Post

Anti-drug police arrested four people in a series of raids over the weekend related to Thursday’s drug bust that netted a Royal Cambodian Armed Forces officer and five others, police said yesterday.

Major General Khieu Saman, director of Anti-Drug Police Department at the Ministry of Interior, said that a total of 10 people were arrested on December 27, 28 and 29 on suspicion of drug trafficking and production – including RCAF Lieutenant Colonel Keo Saroeun, who was arrested after a brief shootout, along with his wife, Pov Bopha, another suspect named Bun Tha and three others not yet named by police.

“These people were preliminarily accused by police with drug trafficking and producing,” Saman said. 

“They all now are still being detained at the anti-drug police department at the Ministry of Interior.  They will be sent to court for charges [on Monday].”

According to Lieutenant General Meas Virith, deputy general secretary of the National Authority for Combating Drugs, Saroeun and his wife were large-scale traffickers whose arrests had been a long time in the making.

“Our police had spent many months following and investigating them,” he said.

Virith added that Saroeun and his wife, along with the four others, were arrested at their house in Chamkarmon district, where officials found a cache of drugs and guns.  

Based on information gleaned from the suspects’ interrogations, Virith said, police honed in on two other residences being rented by Saroeun in Tuol Kork and Meanchey districts that were being used as drug production sites, and where police arrested four other unnamed suspects and confiscated more drugs on Friday and Saturday.

All told, he said, police seized nearly 6.5 kilograms of drugs ready for sale – including crystal methamphetamines and heroine – and some 75 kilograms of precursor chemicals, as well as equipment for producing methamphetamines.

Police also seized at least two pistols and a hunting rifle in the raids.


To contact the reporter on this story: Buth Reaksmey Kongkea at



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